Utah at Oklahoma City

Thunder overcome Durant's slow start, turn down Jazz

CBSSports.com wire reports
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OKLAHOMA CITY -- The last time these teams met, Utah handed visiting Oklahoma city a 15-point loss. Just over a month later, the Thunder returned the favor on their home court.

Kevin Durant had 23 points and 10 rebounds, Russell Westbrook scored 19 points and Oklahoma City cruised to a 110-87 victory against the Jazz on Wednesday night.

The victory came two nights after the Thunder lost at San Antonio to remain in second place in the Western Conference behind the Spurs.

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"It was important after a loss to try and bounce back," Durant said. "This team beat us pretty badly up in Utah so we wanted to come out and send a message, and we did that."

Durant struggled early, recording more turnovers (six) than points (five) through the first 22 minutes. The NBA's leading scorer didn't convert until 3.8 seconds left in the first quarter and finished the half with eight points.

Westbrook picked up the slack, leading all scorers with 13 points at the break and adding five assists. However, the Thunder All-Star was able to keep the offense attacking while Durant struggled.

Oklahoma City, which owns the third-best record in the league at 48-17, still led 29-19 at the end of the first quarter and 50-28 by halftime.

While Durant struggled, Oklahoma City's defense clamped down.

"I thought that was the game right there, the way we came out in the first and second quarter just playing good defense and scoring off of that," Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks said. "In the second we obviously scored much better."

Kevin Martin added 15 points for the Thunder.

Durant found his rhythm in the third quarter, scoring nine of Oklahoma City's first 11 points and 15 total to push the Thunder lead to 32.

His only assist of the night came during halftime when he helped an elderly fan to her feet after she had fallen courtside.

Durant also had eight turnovers, including six in the first half.

"I was struggling early on really bad and I was down on myself," Durant said. "My teammates came to my rescue but (Westbrook) was the main guy. I really appreciate him doing that for me."

Gordon Hayward scored 20 points to lead Utah, and Enes Kanter had 12. The Jazz lost for the eighth time in 10 games, but remained one-half game behind the Los Angeles Lakers for eighth place in the West.

The Jazz shot 35 percent from the floor, committing 24 turnovers and getting outrebounded 37-22.

Before the game, Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks said Utah's big men would pose the greatest challenge to his team. The Thunder wound up scoring 38 points in the paint and held Utah's frontcourt of Demarre Carroll, Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson to only 15 points.

Oklahoma City's Serge Ibaka and Kendrick Perkins were a big reason for that. Ibaka scored 10 points and Perkins was scoreless, but turned in a superb defensive effort..

"I thought our bigs did a great job," Brooks said. "I think if you had to give a game ball you would certainly give one to [Perkins]. He was a big impact throughout the game not only on his man but anchoring our defense and not allowing any easy points in the paint during that first three quarters. He's been doing it all year. He takes pride in his individual defense and our team defense."

Millsap, who scored seven points to go with seven rebounds, played for the first time since Friday in Chicago after missing two games with inflammation in his right knee. The Jazz were also without backup point guard Jamaal Tinsley, who missed his second game due to illness.

The large lead allowed Brooks the opportunity to play all his reserves.

Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin got the same opportunity for different reasons.

"We have been looking at different lineups the last couple of weeks and we will definitely look at that the next couple of weeks," Brooks said of his approach heading into the final 17 games of the regular season. "Shortening the rotation -- we do it game to game. It's hard to play a lot of guys in this NBA season. You have some good players that don't play.

Notes

  • Oklahoma City has won nine of its past 12 games.
  • Utah slipped to 10-24 on the road.
  • Five technical fouls and two flagrant fouls were called during the game.
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
 
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Russell Westbrook drives on Utah's Mo Williams during the first half, when he scores 13 of his 19 points. (USATSI)
Russell Westbrook drives on Utah's Mo Williams during the first half, when he scores 13 of his 19 points. (USATSI)

Scoreboard
Utah (33-32)199283187
Oklahoma City (48-17) «29212931110
UTA:G. Hayward 20 Pts
UTA:A. Jefferson 7 Reb
UTA:E. Watson 6 Ast
OKC:K. Durant 23 Pts
OKC:K. Durant 10 Reb
OKC:R. Westbrook 9 Ast
Players of the Game
UtahOklahoma City

Gordon Hayward

Kevin Durant
PtsRebsAstPtsRebsAst
201323100
Utah
A. Jefferson, C244-130-07128
M. Williams, PG212-70-02335
P. Millsap, PF201-55-87137
D. Carroll, SF190-30-00140
R. Foye, PG182-70-01116
G. Hayward, SG286-147-813120
D. Favors, PF253-60-03246
M. Williams, PF242-50-05204
E. Kanter, C233-66-650412
E. Watson, PG192-45-62619
A. Burks, PG122-82-22117
J. Evans, SF41-11-30013
K. Murphy, SG30-10-00000
J. Tinsley, PGDid Not Play
T. Leslie, PGDid Not Play
Totals 28-8026-3335212587
 35.0%78.8% 
Oklahoma City
K. Durant, SF297-138-9100223
R. Westbrook, PG286-117-979019
K. Perkins, C270-20-03040
T. Sefolosha, SF262-42-24127
S. Ibaka, PF264-62-230410
K. Martin, SG235-104-421115
R. Jackson, PG204-82-262212
D. Fisher, PG194-50-001410
N. Collison, PF192-32-36526
H. Thabeet, C150-20-04050
R. Brewer, SG52-30-02104
P. Jones, SF51-22-21014
D. Liggins, SGDid Not Play
D. Orton, CDid Not Play
J. Lamb, SGDid Not Play
Totals 37-6929-33482027110
 53.6%87.9% 
Other Games
Min 91 Final
Ind 107
Mia 98 Final
Phi 94
Mil 93 Final
Wash 106
LAL 92 Final
Atl 96
Tor 88 Final
Bos 112
Pho 81 Final
Hou 111
Chi 79 Final
Sac 121
NY 94 Final
Den 117
Det 97 Final
GS 105
Mem 96 Final
LAC 85