One team was playing the last of a back-to-back-to-back game. The other had been off since Friday. One team had the best record in the NBA, percentage-wise. The other had dropped six of their last eight. Any guesses on which of these two teams won Tuesday? The Oklahoma City Thunder captured an easy win over the slumping Utah Jazz, 111-85.
After a disappointing loss Monday versus the New Orleans Hornets, the Jazz picked up where they left off. The team looked fatigued and discombobulated as it started the game with just 1 of the first 16 field goal attempts. The closest the Jazz got to the Thunder was a 2-2 tie early on.
Sixth Man of the Year candidate James Harden led the Thunder with 22 points. For the second game in a row, Kevin Durant quietly played well, finishing with 21 points. Fellow All-Star Russell Westbrook and center Serge Ibaka each chipped in 16.
For Utah, Al Jefferson led the way with 15, but took 19 shots doing so. Derrick Favors added 13 points in 18 minutes off the bench.
Offensive Woes: After the aforementioned abysmal start, Utah finished the first half at a frigid 32.7 percent from the floor (16-49) and 12.5 percent from downtown (1-8 three-pointers). It did not get much better in the second half, as the Jazz finished 35.6 (32-90) and 23.1 (3-13) percent in those same categories.
Take away Raja Bell’s 3-6 performance, the Jazz wings of Gordon Hayward, Josh Howard, and C.J. Miles combined to go just 4-20 from the floor. Only one player besides Bell shot more than 50 percent (Derrick Favors, 4-7).
Meanwhile, the Thunder had a blistering 54.5 percent, out fast breaking Utah 17-4.
The Jazz were down 16-4 with 5:16 left in the first quarter. Had that rate continued for an entire 48 minutes, Oklahoma City would have beaten Utah 110-29.
Led by Ibaka’s six, Oklahoma City swatted 13 shots and altered many others inside
Jamaal Tinsley got his first playing time since his 34-minute starting effort on Feb. 2. He had not played in six games.
Two games removed from one of his finest efforts of the year, Hayward recorded his first scoreless game of the season.
With just one assist Tuesday, Devin Harris has had four or fewer assists in 17 of the 27 games in which he’s played.
All 13 Thunder players got into the scoring column.
Oklahoma City rookie Reggie Jackson had a career-high and game-high eight assists. He also played a pro-best 25 minutes.
Utah was outscored in all four quarters.
David Smith is providing instant analysis for Deseret News' Utah Jazz coverage this season. He works for LDS Philanthropies and also blogs for the Utah Jazz 360 website. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at davidjsmith1232.
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