SALT LAKE CITY — The slumping Utah Jazz lost for the third time in four games, falling to the Oklahoma City Thunder at home on Monday night, 98-89.
Here are three takeaways from the game, which was far different from the Jazz's 148-147 overtime loss to the Thunder a couple of weeks ago:
— Point guard Dante Exum returned to action after an extended injury absence, but it was the play of Thunder backup playmaker Dennis Schroder that made the biggest difference in this tough loss for Utah. Schroder led OKC with 24 points and grabbed seven rebounds for the visitors. Exum didn't score on five missed shots and dished out three assists in a controlled 15 minutes.
— The Thunder outscored the Jazz 28-16 in the second quarter to take control of the game, and fended off all Utah comeback bids in the second half. Russell Westbrook, who had a verbal altercation with fans, flirted with a triple-double with 23 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists.4 comments on this story
— Donovan Mitchell scored a game-high 25 points but missed 14 of 22 shots on a night when the cold-shooting Jazz only hit 36.4 percent of their shots. Mitchell also had five assists, five steals and four rebounds, and fill-in starter Royce O'Neale added 17 points.
The Jazz are now all alone in the eighth and final spot of the Western Conference playoff standings, a half-game behind the San Antonio Spurs and Los Angeles Clippers and three games behind No. 5 Portland.
— Wednesday, March 13, at Phoenix (14-51), 8 p.m.
— Thursday, March 14, vs. Minnesota (30-35), 7 p.m.
— Saturday, March 16, vs. Brooklyn (36-33), 7 p.m.