Will Hardy, the head coach of the Utah Jazz, wants his team to go back to basics.
Hardy hopes that Utah can recover from a loss to San Antonio on Tuesday night at home. On Friday, the Jazz begin a six-game road trip that will last the entire season. They will play the Oklahoma City Thunder.
The Jazz missed an opportunity to move above.500 in a 102-94 defeat on Tuesday, three nights after easily defeating the visiting Spurs by 118 points on Saturday.
Utah has committed at least 20 turnovers in all but one of the last four games, averaging 19.5 per game.
Utah’s trip starts with games against the Thunder. They will play once more Sunday evening.
Since the All-Star break, neither the Jazz nor the Thunder have had enough players.
Jordan Clarkson missed Tuesday’s game with a right thumb sprain, and Utah’s Collin Sexton has missed the past three games with a left hamstring strain. Clarkson took part in some of the practice on Thursday, but it is still unknown if he will be able to return on Friday.
In the defeat on Tuesday, Ochai Agbaji broke his right lower leg, but he is expected to play on Friday.
For the fifth game in a row, the Thunder are likely to be without All-Star Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. Gilgeous-Alexander has been in the NBA’s health and safety protocol for the last two games despite recently having an abdominal strain.
Oklahoma City will be without forward Kenrich Williams for the remainder of the year, although Gilgeous-Alexander is anticipated to return soon. In the defeat against Sacramento on Tuesday, Williams’ left wrist suffered a rupture of the scapholunate ligament. Williams would need surgery to end his season, the Thunder said on Thursday.
Even though Williams only averages 8.0 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 2.0 assists in 53 games, he has contributed significantly to Oklahoma City’s success this season. With Williams on the floor, the Thunder outscored their opponents by 4.0 points per 100 possessions, whereas without Williams, they have a net rating of -0.7. Additionally, he leads the NBA with 26 draws this season.
A five-game losing streak that has lasted the entirety of the season has put Oklahoma City’s chances of making the play-in tournament in jeopardy.
In Oklahoma City’s 123-117 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday, Josh Giddey had 17 points, 11 assists, and nine rebounds, just one rebound shy of a triple-double. Coach Mark Daigneault praised Giddey for his attack on Los Angeles’ smaller guards.
Giddey, on the other hand, wants more.
This season, the teams have met four times, the second of those being on Friday. Lauri Markkanen scored 43 points for Utah, which prevailed in overtime to win the first game 120-119 in Salt Lake City on February 23.