Utah Jazz instant analysis: Thunder show why they're an elite team in victory over Jazz
Tom Smart, Deseret News
The pressure increases with each passing game. The Utah Jazz came into Tuesday’s game in the Western Conference’s eighth slot — but couldn't secure that position. The Oklahoma City Thunder showed why they are one of the NBA’s truly elite teams, defeating the Jazz 90-80.
While both teams played subpar basketball in relation to their respective seasons, it never felt like Utah threatened Oklahoma City. The Thunder came out well, while the Jazz seemed to lag behind in terms of energy and focus. Utah’s early shot selection and abundance of turnovers dug the Jazz into a quick deficit and they were subsequently unable to ever dig out of the hole.
In the constant seesaw battle with the Los Angeles Lakers, the loss dropped the Jazz a game below the Lakers in the loss column, pending L.A.'s late Tuesday game vs. New Orleans.
Superstar Power: One cannot discuss the Oklahoma City Thunder and neglect focusing on the superstar duo of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. They did exactly what superstars do: They dominated.
Durant was stellar, scoring 21 points on just 10 field goal attempts. The points may be below his 28.4 points per game average, but Durant was able to corral 12 rebounds, dole out nine assists and register three steals. He was able to make the plays when the Thunder needed them most, the sign of a perennial MVP candidate.
His running mate, Westbrook, tossed in a game-high 25 points. While he was just 8 of 21 from the floor, he was impressive with his array of athletic moves and timely 3-pointers.
Jazz Statistical Notes:
• Both teams shot 39 percent for the night. Only one of Utah’s eight players, Al Jefferson (7-13, 53.8 percent), made over half of his shots.
• Strangely enough the Jazz outperformed their opponents in fast-break points (14-8), as well as points in the paint (36-28).
• Thunder forward Serge Ibaka and Jazz big man Derrick Favors each swatted five shots, while affecting numerous other attempts.
David Smith provides instant analysis for Deseret News' Utah Jazz coverage. 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.
- Discipline a focus of spring ball for BYU; 10...
- A tale of two Hills at quarterback for BYU...
- Dick Harmon: Credit BYU's Rose for...
- Morning links: Calipari's subtle jab at Salt...
- Video: Former Utah Jazz draft pick Luther...
- After year layoff, BYU's Kurtz happy to be...
- Best of the West: Arizona back to top seed...
- Utah basketball: Coach K looks out for...
- BYU shocks No. 3 Gonzaga 73-70 110
- Utes come up short in Pac-12 battle... 83
- Discipline a focus of spring ball for... 64
- Holmoe assesses the state of the... 47
- Mike Sorensen: How about a Utah-BYU... 44
- About Utah: Replace the prison with the... 41
- Morning links: Is BYU now in the... 40
- BYU looking forward to big showdown at... 27