Point Guard • Ricky Rubio vs. Russell Westbrook.

Westbrook is going to put up numbers. As evidenced by him averaging a triple-double for a second consecutive season, he’s too good and talented not to. The trick for the Jazz is to not allow him to take over the series, and to make him work for his points. Rubio has been arguably one of the most important players on Utah’s roster in the second half of the season. This will be his first playoff. Welcome to the postseason, Mr. Rubio. Here’s Mr. Triple-double.

Advantage • Oklahoma City

Shooting Guard • Donovan Mitchell vs. Corey Brewer.

Mitchell is better than Brewer. How much better than Brewer will go a long way towards determining the series for the Jazz. Mitchell, as a rookie, will need to dominate this matchup and make the Thunder switch Paul George onto him. Brewer’s been good for the Thunder. He’s a long, athletic and pesky defender. But, Mitchell’s going to have to score and beat a set defense for the Jazz to thrive. This is a tall order to ask of a first year player.

Advantage • Utah

(Leah Hogsten | The Salt Lake Tribune) Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell (45) hits a 3-point shot over Los Angeles Lakers forward Julius Randle (30) as the Utah Jazz host the Los Angeles Lakers at Vivint Smart Home Arena Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Small Forward • Joe Ingles vs. Paul George.

George is one of the best playoff basketball players in the league, meaning he turns his game up a notch when the stakes are the highest. He’s a great shooter, good scorer, can get to the free-throw line and is an premier wing defender. He will be a handful for the Jazz. Ingles has had a career season, and is one of Utah’s most important players. He will have to take and make open shots. He will have to set the table out of the pick-and-roll.

Advantage • Oklahoma City

Power Forward • Derrick Favors vs. Carmelo Anthony.

Which Melo will this series get? Will it be the Melo who can isolate and make a bunch of shots? Will it be inefficient Melo? This is huge. The Jazz can deal with Westbrook and George scoring a bunch of points, but if all three guys are on target, then it becomes difficult for Utah. A big question: How will Favors deal with having to guard on the perimeter all series, and can he take advantage of his size at the other end? The Thunder’s Jerami Grant and Jazz’s Jae Crowder become important here off the bench.

Advantage • Oklahoma City

Oklahoma City Thunder forward Carmelo Anthony (7) looks to drive around Houston Rockets guard Gerald Green (14) during the first half of an NBA basketball game Saturday, April 7, 2018, in Houston. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)

Center • Rudy Gobert vs. Steven Adams.

On paper, Gobert should have the advantage here. But games aren’t played on paper. Adams is a terrific player. He’s tough and physical. He’s built like a brick wall, and is extremely athletic. He gives Gobert problems. He pushes him around and causes havoc in the paint. This could very well be the matchup that determines Utah’s season. Gobert hasn’t played well against Adams this season. He will have to, if the Jazz want to survive the Thunder.

Advantage • Even

Benches

The Jazz have a better bench. And, for sure, Crowder and Royce O’Neale are going to be huge in this series. Crowder will have to space the floor and guard Anthony in large doses. O’Neale is Utah’s best perimeter defender by a good margin. Expect him to be on Paul George a lot, and even Russell Westbrook. The Thunder bench has been bolstered by Grant’s play of late. In a word, he’s been terrific. Ray Felton is a great veteran backup point guard as well. This could really swing Utah’s way if Dante Exum can play well.

Advantage • Utah

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Utah Jazz vs. Boston Celtics, NBA basketball in Salt Lake City, Wednesday March 28, 2018. Utah Jazz forward Jae Crowder (99) defending Boston Celtics center Greg Monroe (55).

Coaches

Billy Donovan is a pretty good coach. Quin Snyder is a great coach. There’s a clear separation between the two, and that will come into play if this becomes a long series. Where the Thunder have an advantage with Westbrook and George, the Jazz have an advantage on the bench. Snyder is one of the top three candidates for coach of the year, and deservedly so.

Billy Donovan is a pretty good coach. Quin Snyder is a great coach. There’s a clear separation between the two, and that will come into play if this becomes a long series. Where the Thunder have an advantage with Westbrook and George, the Jazz have an advantage on the bench. Snyder is one of the top three candidates for coach of the year, and deservedly so.

Advantage • Utah

Bottom line

Both teams are unique, in a good way. The Jazz have proven to be one of the most resilient teams in the league this season. Not many clubs can go 29-6 over the last half of a season after starting 19-28. But, Westbrook is like the killer cyborg from Terminator 2. No matter how many times you think you’ve beaten him, he rises up and keeps coming at you. And the Thunder take after this personality. So the team with more resilience is going to win what should be a fantastic and evenly matched series.

Prediction • Oklahoma City in 7

Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook taps his chest after his 16th rebound of the night, during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Memphis Grizzlies, securing his triple-double average for the second straight season, in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, April 11, 2018. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)