OKLAHOMA CITY — The league’s reigning MVP is unbothered.
Immediately following shootaround Wednesday, Oklahoma City Thunder star Russell Westbrook takes questions from the media while chowing on his nails like they’re a fresh bucket of KFC chicken.
Some he answers, some he skips.
“Next question,” he tells one guy.
At 6 p.m. MT, Westbrook and the Thunder will tipoff against the visiting Utah Jazz in the Chesapeake Energy Arena. Utah will be playing without it star rookie and leading scorer Donovan Mitchell who is out with a right great toe contusion.
Obviously, Rudy Gobert is still out with a left PCL sprain and bone bruise, Raul Neto is out with a concussion and Derrick Favors is probable with a concussion as the Jazz are on the last stop of a brutal six-game road trip.
Westbrook’s thoughts on the Jazz?
“Honestly, I’m really just worried about how we’re going to play,” Westbrook said. “Just go out and compete and make sure we do what we need to do. Once we do that, we put ourselves in position to win the game.”
The Jazz (14-17) and Thunder (15-15) have certainly grown familiar with each other this season. This matchup will mark their third time playing each other this year, with a 1-1 series split.
The Thunder won the last matchup 100-94 in OKC, 100-94, on Dec. 5 with Westbrook posting a triple-double with 34 points, 14 assists and 13 rebounds.
Utah won the first game in Salt Lake City on Oct. 21, 96-87, but have lost six of the last seven games. Mitchell is missing his first game of the season after a 120-99 loss Houston Monday where the Jazz were outscored 41-15 in the fourth quarter.
“I think we did it all for three and a half quarters,” Mitchell said after the loss. “I think just limiting the mental mistakes and that’s the best thing that we did. We were there on closeouts and we were making the right reads.”