Utah Jazz report card: Utah's playoff hopes took another jolt in losing 110-87 to Thunder
A rather stormy evening accompanied the Jazz's visit to Oklahoma City Wednesday night. Instead of identifying flashes of success, Utah's playoff hopes took another jolt in losing 110-87 to the Thunder.
Guards: Mo Williams and Randy Foye collectively left plenty to be desired for the third game in the past four. They were collectively 4-of-14 with six turnovers, while Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook and Thabo Sefolasha combined to be 8-of-15 for 26 points, 11 rebounds, 10 assists, two steals and two blocks. (Westbrook did commit five turnovers, but his 9:5 assist-to-turnover ratio was better than Williams' 3:4). Outside of Monday's win in Detroit, Williams is 9-of-34 with just 16 assists to 13 turnovers in four games.
Gordon Hayward (28 minutes) played longer than either starting guard. Get this: his not-super 6-of-14 shooting night was the best of any of the five Jazz players (including Al Jefferson, Williams, Foye and Alec Burks) with seven attempts or more. (Why were four of the five players who attempted the most shots perimeter players?) GRADE: D
Forwards: Because of his reputation as a diligent worker, Paul Millsap should be embarrassed that Serge Ibaka (10 points on 4-of-6 shooting) and Kevin Durant (23 points, 10 rebounds) wiped the floor with him and DeMarre Carroll. Heck, Carroll should be, too, given how much he prides himself in being the "Junkyard Dog": a hustling, tough player who maximizes his offensive opportunities and makes life difficult for the people he defends. Perhaps a starting role hasn't been positive for Carroll, at least offensively: He has shot just 7-of-23 in the past five games, all starts.
Like Hayward on the guard side, Derrick Favors (six points on 3-of-6 shooting, two assists, five blocks) saw the most time at this position and was a rare Jazzman to post decent numbers. His per-48 minutes rebound total (5.9) was quite lower than his season average (14.2) in the same category, however. GRADE: D+
Centers: Big Al was miserable, but at least Thunder center Kendrick Perkins (zero points on 0-of-2 shooting, three rebounds, four fouls) was a non-factor. Enes Kanter (12 points on 3-of-6 shooting, five rebounds, 23 minutes) once again proved that the Jazz could very well not miss Jefferson next season. Kanter has been nothing but on fire in the past seven games, shooting 67 percent from the field with 15 points and 8.6 rebounds in jut 26.3 minutes per game. A B+ to Kanter and D+ to Jefferson, the prize replacement of Carlos Boozer more than two years ago. GRADE: C+
Bench: The Jazz reserves once again won this battle, outscoring the Thunder bench 61-51. This group has outscored the opposing reserves in most games this season. GRADE: C+
Overall: It's clear that trying to mesh Mo Williams back into the lineup is failing. The Jazz are 1-4 since he returned to the lineup. That may be the key reason for such trouble. Of course, Tyrone Corbin is still having lineup issues more than three-quarters into the season. GRADE: D+
Rhett Wilkinson studies at Utah State University and is the co-founder of Aggie BluePrint, USU's first student magazine. A two-time Deseret News intern, he now works as an intern for Deseret Book's LDS Living. email@example.com or @wilklogan
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