Game Recap: Thunder 106, Jazz 94

News and notes following the Thunder’s 106-94 win over the Utah Jazz:

  • Oklahoma City is now 10-2 in March and 14-5 on Wednesday nights. The Thunder at 9-2 has the best record against Northwest Division opponents. The Thunder is also now 18-5 in games following a loss.
    “It’s good to get a nice bounce-back win,” said Thunder head Coach Scott Brooks. “They’re a very physical team, they play tough but I thought we handled it well.”
    “Good win for us,” said Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook, “That’s a tough team that’s fighting for playoff position just like we are. It was a good win to bounce back after a loss.”
    “We need the win a lot,” said Thunder forward Kevin Durant. “Sunday was a tough, tough loss, that’s over with. We got a good win tonight against a division opponent. That’s what we needed. Practice was good yesterday and shoot-around was good this morning so I felt good coming into this game and I’m glad we got the win.”
  • Westbrook (31) Durant (29) combined for 60 points to lead the Thunder. Both had good shooting nights. Westbrook was 11-for-17 and Durant was 7-for-12. They were also hot at the free throw line. Westbrook was 8-for-9 and KD was 13-for-15.
    “Russell has to get better at finishing around the rim and I thought he did a good job of that tonight,” Brooks said. “And Kevin hadn’t been shooting the ball well lately but he was in a good rhythm tonight. He was very efficient.”
  • Thunder off to a blistering start, shooting 66.7% (10-for-15) in the first quarter and scoring 32 points. Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook each with 12 points but they scored them much differently. Westbrook was 5-for-6 from the field and 2-for-2 at the free throw line while Durant was 1-for-2 from the field and 10-for-11 at the line.
  • The Thunder offense slowed down in the second quarter, scoring only 18 points. The defense was stout though holding Utah to just 20.
  • At halftime the Jazz were shooting only 42.5%, the Thunder 48.5%. Utah had only one player (Al Jefferson, 10 points) in double figures at the break.
  • The Thunder was led by Russell Westbrook who had 17 at the half on 6-for-10 shooting. Durant was shutout in the second 12 minutes and he took only one shot.
  • Kevin Durant with back-to-back 3-pointers to give the Thunder its biggest lead of the night to that point, 96-80, with 5:47 left in the game.
    “Once I got those threes going it felt good,” Durant said, “I was just trying to be patient. Russell had it going so I just tried to be a decoy because guys don’t usually leave me when he drives to the basket.”
  • Serge Ibaka finished with a double-double, 15 points and 13 rebounds. He also blocked four shots.
    “Serge did a great job tonight protecting the basket,” Brooks said. “I thought he had a terrific game offensively in taking shots and got some good catches for easy putbacks. He rebounded well and blocked a lot of shots.”


PLAYS THE BOX SCORE WON’T SHOW: Serge Ibaka’s first block of the game springs Russell Westbrook loose on the fast break. Westbrook scores on a jumper...Nice double team by Kevin Durant and Nazr Mohammed that forces a Utah turnover, then Westbrook is fouled at the other end...Thunder with outstanding team defense to start the second quarter forcing Utah into a shot clock violation...Nick Collison with some good defense too forcing Ronnie Price to lose the ball out of bounds...Collison and Mohammed with another great double team forcing Utah’s Paul Milsap to travel, turning the ball over...Two offensive rebounds for the Thunder on one possession late in the third quarter. James Harden gets one of them but misses the follow shot but Nazr Mohammed is right there to rebound Harden’s miss and he scores on the put back...Durant with an outstanding spin move to cut through a double-team then he goes up with a nifty finger-roll to score the basket...Stout team defense for the Thunder to end the third quarter. Utah’s Ronnie Price is pestered by Russell Westbrook into almost losing the ball out of bounds then he passes to Gordon Hayward who is double teamed by Thabo Sefolosha and James Harden who force him to put up a wild shot that falls short at the buzzer...Serge Ibaka, standing in perfect position rebounds a Westbrook miss and slams it home to again bring the sellout crowd to its feet late in the game.

STATS WORTH REPEATING: Kevin Durant (7-for-12) and Russell Westbrook (11-for-17) combined to go 18-for-29 (62.1%)...After blocking 0 shots Sunday against Toronto the Thunder swatted away eight against the Jazz. Serge Ibaka had half of those and Kendrick Perkins had a couple. The Thunder outscored the Jazz 38-26 in the paint and 21-13 on fast break points...OKC shot 54.5% and when the team shoots 50% or better they are now 20-3. After the Jazz went 4-for-5 (80%) on 3-pointers in the first 9:35 of the game the Thunder held them to just 2-for-11 (18%) the rest of the game.

LAST WORD: “One of the strengths of our team is that we try to take a loss and learn from it and take a win and get better from it,” said the head coach. “I think that’s why we have had so much success after losses.”

UP NEXT: The longest homestand of the season continues Friday night when Kevin Love and the Minnesota Timberwolves come to town. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. inside Oklahoma City Arena. You can watch all the action on Fox Sports Oklahoma or listen in on the Thunder Radio Network.