Tonight was not a good night. I felt like we’ve been making progress as a team. Didn’t see that tonight but I think it’s in our group —Quin Snyder
OKLAHOMA CITY — Wednesday was a rough night to be a member of the Utah Jazz.
Boy, oh boy, did the team struggle in Oklahoma City.
On the final stop of a brutal six-game road trip, the Jazz dropped their third game in a row to the Oklahoma City Thunder, 107-79.
“It’s been, in a lot of ways, a good trip in spite of the fact that we haven’t won as much as we wanted to,” said Jazz coach Quin Snyder. “Tonight was not a good night. I felt like we’ve been making progress as a team. Didn’t see that tonight but I think it’s in our group.”
In Utah’s defense, the squad was undermanned without its star rookie and leading scorer Donovan Mitchell who didn’t play with a bruised big toe. He was forced to sit and watch on the bench in casual gear.
Rodney Hood started in his place, leading the squad with 17 points in 27 minutes.
Derrick Favors returned after missing two games with a concussion, but his presence alone couldn’t make up for the absence of Mitchell, Rudy Gobert (knee) and Raul Neto (concussion). Favors would end with nine points and two rebounds.
The Jazz didn’t have enough firepower on the offensive or defensive end to compete and never led throughout the entire contest.
“They were clicking on all cylinders,” Hood said. “I think we turned the ball over a lot, especially when we’re tired. It’s tough to play against them, especially how good they are in transition and it’s a good thing that we play tomorrow to get this one out our head.”
Utah has now dropped 14 straight games on the road to OKC, but will host the Thunder in the final game of their four-game regular season series for a shot at revenge this Saturday, Dec. 23 at Vivint Arena.
“Offensively, we found our niche, we found our rhythm, we found our flow and as a result we had a good win tonight,” said Thunder forward Carmelo Anthony, who posted 18 points with seven rebounds.
The highlight of the game happened at 8:19 in the third quarter. Unfortunately, Favors was on the other end of a poster dunk as Paul George attacked the basket to viciously cram all over him, then flex his muscles to the crowd. The OKC fans cheered loudly as the dunk was replayed on the big screen and the Thunder led by as many as 33 in the game.
“I thought we played to the level that we need to and definitely wanted to,” said George, who scored 18 points. “This is definitely something to build off of.”
The first half is what set the tone, though, as reigning MVP played as good as he possibly could in the first two quarters.
OKC started off hot with a 21-5 run to open the game while holding Utah to 22.2 percent shooting and seven turnovers in the opening quarter. With Ricky Rubio guarding him, Westbrook started 6-for-6 from the field with 14 points in nine minutes.
Former Thunder player Thabo Sefolosha entered the game to cheers from the crowd at 4:42 after checking in for Hood and ended with 12 points in his return while Alec Burks added 14 points and seven rebounds.
Frustration boiled over for Snyder in the second quarter as he was hit with a technical foul with 39 seconds left in the first half for jawing with officials.
At halftime, Utah trailed 53-37 with Westbrook going off for 20 of his 24 points and couldn’t recover as OKC picked it up in the third. Westbrook also ended with 10 rebounds and seven assists on the night.
The Jazz will return home Thursday to host the San Antonio Spurs at 8:30 p.m. MT.
“We got punched and weren’t able to bounce back,” Snyder said.