Utah Jazz get rolled by Thunder to lose their playoff spot
Following the shot, the All-Star point guard motioned like he was blowing imaginary smoke off of his finger pistol. He then acted like he was holstering the gun, and it seemed like the Thunder might have been putting the Jazz away early, too.
But Mo Williams drained a 3 to begin Utah's late surge in the final 2:20.
Paul Millsap cut OKC's lead down to 84-80 with a dunk with 23.4 seconds remaining, giving the Jazz a glimmer of hope.
That was quickly blown out, too.
Durant hit two free throws, and then Westbrook holstered Utah's remaining chances. First, the quick guard stepped in and alertly stole Millsap's sloppy inbounds pass to Williams. Then, Westbrook raced the other way for a two-handed slam.
"It's frustrating, for sure," Jazz swingman Gordon Hayward said. "I think (Oklahoma City) is a good team, obviously, with their record and their players, and I thought that we did a good job in the second half of fighting and battling with them.
"We just need to do a better job of doing that straight from the get-go."
Williams led the Jazz with 19 points and six assists; Hayward scored 17; and Jefferson totaled 15 points and 11 rebounds.
Utah, however, didn't get its usual bench boost.
Backup big man Derrick Favors scored eight points with eight rebounds and five blocks, but Carroll was the only other reserve to score and he had just three points.
The Jazz played without three usual contributing substitutes. Center Enes Kanter is in Chicago for today's season-ending shoulder surgery. Small forward Marvin Williams was sent home from the arena before tipoff with stomach flu. And guard Alec Burks is still recuperating from a sprained ankle.
Against a team like the Thunder, the Jazz needed every possible player to contribute at a high level. And that simply didn't happen, especially offensively.
"We had great intensity. We came out with the mindset of getting stops every time down the court, and we did," OKC coach Scott Brooks said. "We did a great job."
The Lakers thank them for that.
Jazz fans' fingernails, on the other hand, just took them off their Christmas card list.
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