Entering week 17 of action for the OKC Thunder have four games on tap and the first offered up the association’s top team — the Utah Jazz.
Although the Thunder got out to a strong start building a double-digit lead, the Jazz proved why they are the only club that has collected 40 wins this season.
Despite trailing by as much as 17 points the Jazz flipped the script with two strong middle frames. Specifically, Utah won the second quarter 33-22 and then burst onto the hardwood following the halftime break with another 33 point frame while holding the Thunder to 16 points.
By 8:46 of the fourth quarter, Utah had flipped the script having fully erased the 17 point Thunder lead to take a 25 point lead of their own.
Unlike six of the last seven Thunder losses, however, there were players on the court for OKC who refuse to roll over once the game appears out of reach. That person on this night was Luguentz Dort who had the Jazz announcers extolling praise over his vastly improved offense.
Although the scrappy defender could’ve used fellow Canadian Shai Gilgeous-Alexander he did his best to keep the Thunder in the match. Dort scored 18 of his career-high 42 points in the final frame to cut the Jazz lead to 10.
This was on top of his defensive effort primarily on Donovan Mitchell but at times also on Mike Coney who seemed to provide the momentum shifts each time the Jazz needed to score of stop the Thunder momentum.
It was a game that felt more in line with the early season efforts of the OKC Thunder and much more palatable for Thunder Nation. No one enjoys watching constant blowout after blowout so this was a welcome respite from those the recent routs.
The loss marked the seventh in a row for the Thunder who’ll be right back in action on Wednesday as they play host to the Golden State Warriors.
Let’s take a dive into the individual performances via player grades.