OKLAHOMA CITY — Utah coach Quin Snyder must have known what was coming Monday night, judging by some of his pregame comments.
“The thing that’s really significant is us taking care of the basketball,” Snyder said. “If we turn the ball over we’re not going to slow them down. They force turnovers and have the most steals in the league and do a great job of converting them. If that’s the case it’s going to be a long night for us.
Sure enough, the Jazz turned the ball over plenty, finishing with their second-highest number of the season with 20, including 19 through three quarters.
Utah came into the game ranking 25th in the league in fewest turnovers per game at 15.2. The only other time the Jazz reached 20 turnovers for a game came in the dreadful 50-point loss at Dallas when they turned the ball over 21 times.
“You can’t turn the ball over,” said Donovan Mitchell afterward. “I had six of my own, the most on the team, but you’ve got to be strong with the ball. We’ve got to execute — we just kind of gave it to them.”
NO GIFTS: Rudy Gobert picked up his fourth technical foul of the season Monday night, which will cost him another $2,000. He had another technical last week for his outburst against Houston when he was ejected less than three minutes into the game for knocking some items off the scorer’s table in a fit of anger. The week before that he was fined $15,000 for his criticism of officials after a loss in Miami.
At least he's kept a sense of humor about it all.
“I was going to get everyone nice gifts for Christmas, but now it’s going to fines,” Gobert said.
JAZZ NOTES: Utah actually out-shot the Thunder 51.2 percent to 50.6 percent, thanks to a 70-percent fourth quarter when they made 14 of 20 shots with Ekpe Udoh making 5 of 5 . . . Both teams made eight 3-pointers, but the Jazz attempted 29 to OKC’s 21 . . . Utah also won the rebound battle 45 to 43 . . . The big difference came at the free-throw line where OKC made nine more free throws with 28 of 39 compared to Utah's 19 of 30 . . . The Jazz and Thunder will meet again on Dec. 22 at Vivint Arena. Then the two teams will meet on Feb. 22 in OKC and in Salt Lake on March 11 . . . Last season, the Jazz had played all four of their regular-season games against the Thunder before Christmas. Then of course they played six games in April in the first round of the playoffs with the Jazz winning 4-2.