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Emptying the Noggin — Unprecedented shooting night puts Thunder over Jazz
By David Locke, Utah Jazz
Summary: The Jazz fight back after a historically hot shooting start by the Thunder to take the lead in the fourth quarter, but Russell Westbrook is simply otherworldly and carries the Thunder to a win, 109-106.
- The Thunder opened the night hitting 12 straight threes. They are 30th in the NBA in 3-point shooting and they hit 12 straight. This has never happened to open a game in NBA history. They equaled a record set in a game between the Seattle Sonics and the Vancouver Grizzlies. It was absurd — the hottest shooting sequence you can imagine.
- Westbrook had 18 points in the first quarter, which was the most he has had in a first quarter this season. He scored 15 straight Thunder points at one point.
- The Jazz stayed in the game. They trailed by 12 at the half, 11 going into the fourth quarter but never got blown out of the game. The Thunder finally cooled down and the Jazz got some lineups and matchups they were able to exploit and took the lead in the fourth quarter.
- Westbrook scored 12 straight points in the final two minutes of the game for his second straight 40-point triple double. He has 16 30-point triple doubles this year and the Thunder are 14-2 in those games.
- With the Jazz up four points, Westbrook hit a tough three from the left wing. The Jazz got an open look for Hayward but he missed, Westbrook skied over Gobert for the rebound and went coast-to-coast with an unequalled recklessness, scored over Hill and drew the foul to give the Thunder a two-point lead.
- The Jazz got a good look for George Hill but he missed the three for lead with :10 left. The Jazz got the rebound and Joe Johnson drove baseline on Steven Adams, but turned it over on the drive.
- The Jazz had a very good offensive night. They got the mismatches and switches they wanted, and were able to execute at a very high level. The offensive rating for the night was 113, which is really good.
- The Thunder finished the night 16 of 23 from three and are the worst 3-point shooting team in the league.
- The trades for McDermott and Gibson completely change the Thunder. They are a ton better than they were previously. They have no gaps other than at backup point guard.
- George Hill played 38 minutes tonight and in the 10 minutes he was off the floor, the Jazz played Dante Exum and Alec Burks at point guard and the Jazz were -13 in those minutes.
- The Jazz were +5 with Joe Johnson at the 4 tonight.
- Westbrook was 1-13 on midrange shots tonight and was still is able to dominate the game. It is incredible.
- Alec Burks had 13 points and it was his first time in double figures in six games.
- This is a big win for Thunder. A loss and the Jazz would have been up four games on them in the loss column and that is too much to overcome. The Jazz need to split the season series with a win in OKC next time.
- From a Jazz standpoint, I am not sure how to feel about this one. A win would have been remarkable and it felt like they might get it at some point. However, if the Thunder are going to hit 12 straight threes and 16 of 23 overall, then it isn’t your night. To fight back and be in position to win is pretty awesome. Lastly, the best player on the floor tonight was on the other team. The last two nights, the best player on the floor was on our team.