Utah Tips Off The 2021-22 Regular Season Tonight Against Oklahoma City

Despite the season starting tonight, emotions should be high as fan-favorite Derrick Favors makes his return to Vivint Arena

It’s go time!

The Utah Jazz begin their quest for the NBA title when they host the Oklahoma City Thunder at 7 p.m. tonight at Vivint Arena.

For fans, it may feel as if the start of the season has been a long time coming. But for the players themselves, it’s just a continuation from what seems like a very long few seasons packed into one.

“I think, honestly, it does feel like the same year,” Mike Conley said following Wednesday’s shootaround. “We’re excited, we’re starting fresh with a new record and different guys on the team. Goals that we always come out with in the beginning of the year, it always gives you that excitement going into that first game.”

While the game will serve as a launching point for what the team hopes will be a very successful season, tonight has another special meaning for the Jazz, their fans, and one particular player on Oklahoma City.

Fan-favorite Derrick Favors is back in the mountains.

Favors was traded from the Jazz to the Thunder back on July 31, ending his 10-year run with Utah over two separate stints with the organization. Favors saw the Jazz transform from a fringe playoff contender to one of the top teams in the league, averaging 11.1 points and 7.0 rebounds per game during that time. 

While this will mark his first return to Vivint Arena since being traded, his return comes with a soft spot for several current Jazz players—most notably being good friend Joe Ingles.

“I’ve spent six of my eight years with him, I think, obviously bonded into a really good relationship with him, on the court and off the court,” Ingles said of Favors. “Obviously, for me playing with him, he made my job easy for so many years. … To come off the pick-and-roll and get a wide-open layup or throw him (the ball), and he’ll shoot his little push shot from the dots.”

The Jazz will honor Favors tonight with a video tribute, thanking him for his contributions to the organization and the community. 

“Just a great relationship. … I reached out to him to wish him all the best but again, it’s not like I’m never going to see him or I’m never going to talk to him again,” Ingles said with a laugh. “It’ll be good to see him. He did a lot for us, for this team, and the organization. I have no doubt he’ll be well-appreciated tonight by the fans.”

Despite the respect the team has for Favors, this is the first game of an 82-game schedule, and with that comes a whole new set of emotions. 

Throughout training camp and the preseason, Utah has made it abundantly clear its goals and expectations for this year. Armed with arguably the best depth in the league and the ability to match up with any team, the Jazz are ready to take that next step forward and bring home a title to Salt Lake City.

“We have a goal, and we want to reach that goal,” Donovan Mitchell said bluntly on Monday.

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Utah Jazz
*Rudy Gay: OUT — right heel surgery
*Trent Forrest: OUT — concussion protocol
*Eric Paschall: PROBABLE — right index finger dislocation

Oklahoma City Thunder
*Nothing To Report

Time: 7 p.m. MST
Location: Vivint Arena / Salt Lake City, UT
TV: AT&T SportsNet
Radio: 1280 The Zone 


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