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Surprising Jazz open playoffs against Thunder

Surprising Jazz open playoffs against Thunder

Sports
OKLAHOMA CITY -- After losing Gordon Hayward to the Boston Celtics in the offseason, it looked like it would be a long shot for the Utah Jazz to make the playoffs. But after a rough start, the Jazz won 29 of 34 games before losing their regular-season finale to drop to the No. 5 seed in the Western Conference. They'll open the playoffs Sunday at Chesapeake Energy Arena against the Oklahoma City Thunder, a team that looked like a lock to not only make the playoffs but compete atop the conference. But the Thunder didn't solidify their place in the playoffs until a win in the next-to-last game of the season. The series is one of the more intriguing first-round matchups, with Utah's 7-foot-1 center Rudy Gobert providing a rim-protecting presence to combat Thunder superstar point guard Russell ...