Thunder Fall To Jazz On The Road
Grant Belcher, News9.com
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – An individual loss isn't a big deal for any NBA team, but it's concerning when they start rolling in at a higher rate.
The Thunder fell 97-90 on the road to the Jazz on Tuesday night, giving Oklahoma City its fourth loss in the past eight games.
Prior to its recent span of tough games, the Thunder had not even lost three in a span of six.
Although it's hard to tell exactly what is causing a sort of mini-slump (by Thunder standards), it could still be problematic for them.
As of Tuesday night, the second-place Spurs remained 3.5 games behind Oklahoma City for the top spot in the West. If OKC continued to produce at a .500 pace down the stretch, it wouldn't be out of the question for the Spurs to catch up and pass OKC, stealing home court advantage if the two teams were to meet.
In its loss to the Jazz, several smaller inefficiencies began to add up to hurt Oklahoma City.
Kevin Durant had a rough night, shooting just 6-of-22 from the field and turning it over six times.
The Thunder also turned it over 20 times as a team.
Oklahoma City led by as many as six several times in the first half, but a big run from Utah to end the half put them in control for the rest of the game.
A free throw from James Harden at the 6:28 mark in the second made it 40-34 in OKC's favor. But the Jazz finished the half on an 18-4 run to lead the Thunder 52-44 at the break.
The Thunder hit a couple of big shots down the stretch but also could not find a stop on the defensive end as the Jazz weathered the storm.
Russell Westbrook was perhaps the most solid player on the night for Oklahoma City, scoring 23 points on 8-of-11 shooting.
Serge Ibaka also had a big night with 13 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks.
Thunder guard Daequan Cook left the game partway through with an injury that was initially diagnosed as a sprained right knee. He will be further evaluated on Wednesday.
Utah moved to within a half game of the playoff cutoff in the West, while OKC fell to 34-12 on the season.
The Thunder will return home Wednesday night to host the L.A. Clippers at 7 p.m.