Published on Feb 13, 2013
THE FACTS: No team was hotter in the Western Conference before Tuesday night than the Oklahoma City Thunder.
But the Utah Jazz delivered what was essentially a cold shower for Oklahoma City by outhustling, outplaying and outrebounding the defending Western Conference champions. Utah stunningly routed the Thunder 109-94, snapping their four-game winning streak in which it won each game by more than 20 points.
The Thunder were never in position to blow the Jazz out though. Their biggest lead was five points, and they trailed the entire second half.
Al Jefferson had 23 points and seven rebounds, while Paul Millsap had 18 points and 10 boards to lead the Jazz. Kevin Durant led Oklahoma City with 33 points, six rebounds, five assists and four steals. Russell Westbrook had 22 points and five assists.
QUOTABLE: "We want to play aggressive, but be smart about it. We're not doing anything crazy. We're not out there trying to hurt anybody, but we want to play with a certain sense of urgency and a certain level of aggressiveness. That's who we want to be and that's who we are."
-- Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin
THE STAT: The Jazz demolished the Thunder on the boards, holding a 38-26 rebounding advantage. But what really killed Oklahoma City was the number of offensive rebounds (16) that Utah collected. The Jazz's work on the offensive glass helped them earn second-chance possessions, and they took a whopping 19 more shot attempts than Oklahoma City. Utah outhustled and was more aggressive than the Thunder to get in the right positions to grab offensive boards.
TURNING POINT: The Thunder started building momentum late in the third quarter, but the Jazz blew the game open in the fourth quarter. Utah, which led 86-79 at the end of the third, outscored Oklahoma City 18-4 in the first 6:37 of the fourth. Alec Burks led Utah's charge, scoring six of Utah's points, while Jefferson and Derrick Favors each added four. Oklahoma City missed eight of its first 10 shots and committed three turnovers as the Jazz built a 104-83 lead. After the Jazz went up by 21 with 5:23 remaining, Durant and Westbrook went to the bench for the rest of the game.
HOT: The Jazz's bench was again one of the team's strengths. They outscored Oklahoma City's reserves 49-25. Favors helped set Utah's aggressive tone in the first quarter by attacking the Thunder in the paint, and he finished with 15 points and three rebounds. Burks (13 points) and DeMarre Carroll (13 points) played well and scored in double figures. Earl Watson had little trouble sticking with Oklahoma City's younger and more athletic point guards, and finished with six points on 3-for-3 shooting, five assists, four rebounds and a steal. Reggie Jackson was the lone Thunder reserve to score in double figures as he tied a career high of 12 points on 6-for-8 shooting. Durant almost single-handedly got the Thunder back in the game in the third quarter. He scored 16 of his points, made all of his three 3-point attempts and got Oklahoma City within five points.
NOT: Thabo Sefolosha was on fire entering Tuesday's game, but was a no-show against the Jazz. He averaged 19 points and made nine 3-pointers in his previous two games. Against the Jazz, he shot 0-for-2 from 3-point range and went scoreless. Westbrook had an outstanding start against the Jazz, making his first five shots. But after the first time he was substituted, he shot 3-for-9 and committed a game-high seven turnovers. Only Marvin Williams had an off night for the Jazz as he shot 0-for-4 and scored just two points.
QUOTABLE II: "Nah. It's not even as loud as an empty Oklahoma City arena."
--Kevin Durant on if EnergySolutions Arena is one of the league's loudest arenas
GOOD MOVE: It was a vintage, blueprint type of win for Utah as the Jazz played their style of basketball -- physical, inside-out, aggressive and energetic in front of their home crowd. They shared the ball, recording 10 more assists than the Thunder. They also forced Oklahoma City into a sloppy game, as the Thunder had 20 turnovers. Utah put bodies on the Thunder, and made them take difficult shots. The Jazz's defense created easy scoring opportunities on offense.
BAD MOVE: Oklahoma City lost its composure early and never seemed to regain it. Center Kendrick Perkins seemed to want to be more of a tough guy than a basketball player on Tuesday. He was whistled for a technical foul for something he said to one of the officials early in the game. He later got a flagrant one for a foul on Jefferson. Perhaps most surprising was the antics of Durant, who was whistled for the first flagrant foul of his career for a hard foul on Burks in transition in the fourth quarter. It was Durant's 10th technical foul this season.