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Huge playoff implications at stake when OKC visits Jazz
(Sports Network) - There are plenty of storylines for Tuesday's showdown between the Oklahoma City Thunder and Utah Jazz in Salt Lake City.
The Thunder are gunning for the Western Conference's top seed and a third consecutive Northwest Division title. They are one game behind the San Antonio Spurs for conference supremacy and three games in front of Denver in the division standings with five to play.
Oklahoma City will start a three-game road trip Tuesday against Utah, Golden State and Portland, and is 23-15 on the road. The Thunder had won three straight and six of seven games until Sunday's 125-120 loss to Carmelo Anthony and the surging New York Knicks. Anthony scored 36 points to lead the Knicks, while Kevin Durant had 27 points for OKC.
Anthony and Durant are neck-and-neck for the scoring title, which has been won by Durant the past three years.
Russell Westbrook led the Thunder with 37 points. The Knicks used an 11-2 run in the final minutes to secure the win. Oklahoma City, which made 57.7 percent of its shots, dropped to 25-2 this season when making 50 percent or better from the floor.
"Not a lot of defense from our team today and we gave up way too many offensive rebounds," Thunder coach Scott Brooks told NBA.com. "Every time we made 'em miss they got the rebound and that's not good. The basics of rebounding is blocking out and we have to go back to that."
Brooks' squad is 16-4 in games played after a loss and has won two in a row away from home.
Utah is in a dogfight for the eighth and final playoff berth in the West and is just one-half game ahead of the hard-charging Los Angeles Lakers.
The Jazz will play two in a row at home and are 29-10 in Salt Lake City this season. They are coming off Sunday's 97-90 road win at Golden State as Mo Williams scored 25 points and Al Jefferson posted 19 points and 12 rebounds.
"I can't say enough about this group of guys," Jazz coach Ty Corbin said. "This was all about them and them wanting it, and the way they came out. Although we made some mistakes in the game, everybody laid everything they had in them out there on the floor."
Derrick Favors had 12 points and 13 boards in Utah's seventh win in eight tries.
Utah has lost two of three meetings with Oklahoma City this season and 10 of the last 14 matchups in this series.
04/09 10:36:51 ET