OKC Cruises In Second Game Of Back-To-Back Against Utah
Grant Belcher, News9.com
OKLAHOMA CITY – Four days in between games obviously didn't do much to change things between the Jazz and the Thunder.
In a game somewhat similar to the previous matchup against the Jazz in Utah, the Thunder essentially sleepwalked to a 111-85 victory against a less talented team.
Despite scoring in triple digits, there was nothing particularly flashy about the win, especially after the bench cleared with five minutes to play. Just four quarters of well-executed play from the team with the league's best winning percentage.
The biggest story was the Thunder's defensive effort in the game. OKC held the Jazz to 35.6 percent shooting from the floor and 23 percent from beyond the 3-point line. As a result, the Thunder pushed their record to 8-1 when holding a team under 40 percent shooting and 8-0 when holding a team to fewer than 90 points.
Serge Ibaka led the defensive effort with another double-double (16 points and 10 rebounds) to go with six blocks, which certainly isn't an astounding number by his standards. With his recent stretch of shot blocking, Ibaka easily leads the league in blocks per game.
Meanwhile, Oklahoma City responded on the offensive end, getting the job done with 54.5 percent shooting in the game.
The Thunder jumped out to a 16-4 lead after just seven minutes, but it finally cooled off a bit and Utah was able to cut the lead back to six by the end of the first.
But OKC would go on to outscore the Jazz in every quarter for the game, only building its lead as the contest went on.
It led by as many as 27 points late before finishing it off with a 26-point margin of victory.
James Harden led all OKC players in both minutes played (30) and scoring (22). Kevin Durant had 21 and Russell Westbrook adding 16 while surpassing the 5,000-point mark for his career.
Kendrick Perkins played a bit of a different role in this game – as a facilitator of the offense. Perkins tied a career high with six assists, including an alley-oop to Kevin Durant and a fancy behind-the-back pass to Serge Ibaka.
He also helped the Thunder rack up an impressive 60 of their 111 points within the paint.
The win moves Oklahoma City to 22-6 on the season, which has them tied for first in the game-by-game standings in the NBA but leading in win percentage.
The Thunder will have a quick turnaround with a trip to Houston for Wednesday night's game. Tipoff at the Toyota Center against the Rockets is set for 7 p.m.