Playing in Utah on little rest isn’t an easy thing to do but the Oklahoma City Thunder didn’t help themselves tonight as they lost 97-90 to the Jazz.
The Thunder did not have the intensity tonight and started to fall behind after coasting off some hot shooting in the first quarter.
Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook combined for 23 of the Thunder’s 25 points in the first quarter and then didn’t score a single point in the second quarter. Utah led 52-44 at the half.
The Jazz held Kobe Bryant to 3-of-20 shooting two nights ago and would hold Durant to 6-for-22 shooting on this night.
The Thunder were within a point with 2:56 left in the game. Their late-game offense was nothing to be proud of on this night as Utah’s defense was too tough for the Thunder to live off of their isolation prowess.
If not for two desperation three-pointers at the end of the shot clock by the Thunder then this game wouldn’t have been as close at the end. The Thunder turned the ball over 20 times in the game and gave up 12 offensive rebounds to the Jazz.
Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson proved to be effective big man closers in the final minutes while the Jazz bigs off the bench did their job and then some earlier in the fourth.
Credit the Jazz defense for winning this one for the home team. Westbrook was the only Thunder player who was making his shot but was held to just 11 field goal attempts and four free throw attempts.
Utah is a sneaky good team in this conference and especially right now winning their fourth straight tonight. The Thunder continue to be inconsistent during this recent stretch of games and will need to get their act together come playoff time.
Discipline may arrive in the form of Derek Fisher tomorrow when he clears waivers at 6 p.m. EST. Fisher is rumored to have Oklahoma City at the top of his list of teams to sign with tomorrow and would bring the Thunder some needed veteran leadership.
Oklahoma City will be back at it again tomorrow night when they face the Clippers (26-19) at home. Both teams will be on back-to-backs.