GUARDS: It wasn't a completely solid effort for Devin Harris, who scored 13 of his 15 points in a three-minute span in the third quarter. But that was an impressive display he put together in those three minutes, hitting three 3-pointers. Gordon Hayward started at shooting guard in place of Raja Bell. He didn't shoot all that well, but he helped out with eight rebounds, two assists and two steals. Russell Westbrook was Oklahoma City's best player on Tuesday night and kept the Thunder in the game. Thabo Sefolosha was a no-show.
FORWARDS: Paul Millsap was Utah's leading scorer and had an overall efficient game. He shot the ball well and played solid defense. C.J. Miles, like Harris, scored the majority of his points in a short spurt. Kevin Durant had an off game for Oklahoma City, shooting just 6-for-22. Credit Utah's defense for that. Serge Ibaka struggled with foul trouble and making smart basketball decisions.
CENTERS: Al Jefferson returned after missing two games, and the Jazz needed him -- especially in the fourth quarter. His hook shot with 51.7 seconds left put Utah up 95-90 and seemed to deflate the Thunder. Kendrick Perkins actually scored and rebounded better than his averages, but he seemed to have little impact on the game. His foul trouble was troublesome for Oklahoma City.
BENCH: It was one of those rare games where Utah's bench was outscored by its opponent, but it was still a nice effort for the Jazz's reserves. Utah needed it, being as shorthanded as it was. Jamaal Tinsley led the way for the Jazz with an efficient 11 points on 5-for-7 shooting in 18 minutes. He also made Nazr Mohammed look foolish when he dribbled through his legs to free himself up for a jumper. Derrick Favors had nine rebounds. James Harden was solid off the bench for the Thunder with 17 points.
OVERALL: This was the type of game where the whole was greater than the sum of the Jazz's parts. It was an overall solid team effort, and a fourth-straight win that helped Utah continue its momentum. The Jazz put together a solid run in the second quarter to build a nice lead, played outstanding defense on Durant and dominated in the paint. A great and enthusiastic crowd helped give Utah a lift.
Copyright 2017, Deseret News Publishing Company