"It gives you somewhat of a sense that you can compete against a team," the Jazz coach said. "But this time it's going to be on their home floor.
"It's a different time for us. We need a big win and it's at this time of year that everybody's trying to position themselves for the playoffs, so we're ready for the challenge. It's going to be a good test. You've got to love this time of year and you've got to love these kinds of games."
Jazz shooting guard Gordon Hayward realizes that the deck is stacked against he and his teammates, who lost four straight on the road last week.
But he's looking forward to tonight's challenge.
"They're a very talented team," Hayward said of the Thunder. "They score a lot of points and they play well when they're at home. So we've got to take it as a challenge and it'll be a good atmosphere, and it should be fun.
"You can't give them easy looks, especially early in the game to help get 'em going. If you do that, it'll be a long night. We've got to make sure we challenge every shot, especially early, and throw different coverages up.
"We can't give 'em the same look the whole night, they're too good for that. It'll have to be a total team effort."
Jazz center Al Jefferson, who scored 23 points in Utah's victory over the Thunder back on Feb. 12 in SLC, also knows full well that it'll be difficult trying to stop the Thunder on their home court.
But that's what makes this matchup all the more intriguing.
"Oh, most definitely, it's gonna be tough, especially going into Oklahoma," he said. "We have beat 'em before, but going in there and playing against them, especially them coming off a loss last night, you're gonna have to have your focus hat on.
"You're gonna have to be ready because on their home floor you can't make mistakes, you can't give up turnovers, you can't give up offensive rebounds because they're gonna make you pay. So we've just got to come ready to play."
Jefferson said that although the Jazz were able to handle the Thunder almost a month ago, this is a different time and obviously a much different venue.
"A lot has changed since then, especially when you're playing on their home floor," he said. "I feel like when we are playing our best basketball and we're focused, we can beat any team on any floor. But we can't just walk into that game (tonight) and say we done beat 'em before so we've just got to come and think we're gonna do it again. We've got to look at it like, this is a game we must win and we must keep focused and do all the right things, so you just can't go on that last win against them."
Jefferson said that while Durant and Westbrook are the two guys that make the Thunder go, the Jazz can't let Oklahoma City's other starters — power forward Serge Ibaka, center Kendrick Perkins and shooting guard Thabo Sefolosha, along with high-scoring guard Kevin Martin off the bench — get it rolling, or it'll be a tough night for the Utah team.
"If anything, you can't really slow down them two (Durant and Westbrook), you just can't let anybody else beat you," Jefferson said. "You've just got to contain 'em, you're not really gonna slow 'em down because they're great superstars in my opinion.
"You can't let everybody else beat you. You can't let them (the Thunder's terrific tandem) get off and let them other guys go off, too. If they're gonna beat you, let them be the only two to beat you, and I think we've got a better chance that way."
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