Oklahoma City’s solid week continued on Friday night as the Thunder stretched their winning streak to four games with a 94-90 win over the Jazz in Utah.
It was the second time in 18 days the Thunder (15-8) and Jazz (10-11) squared off, and the two teams will turn right around and play each other again on Sunday night in OKC. After Sunday, the two Northwest Division teams won’t see each other again until March 24.
Coming off its two best performances of the season, Oklahoma City wasted no time getting back into the groove it was in last night against the Hawks. Led by Westbrook, the Thunder started off the game with a 9-to-0 run, which left the Jazz playing catch up throughout most of the contest.
OKC built their lead up to as many as 14 points, but things went sour for the Thunder towards the end of the third quarter when Westbrook checked out of the game at the 3:18 mark with the Thunder holding a ten point lead. Without their all-star point guard, OKC failed to score a field goal the rest of the frame, and allowed Utah to cut its deficit in half going into the fourth quarter.
The Thunder appeared to have regrouped in between quarters, and built its lead back up to 12 points with just over five minutes left in the game, but the Jazz weren’t done fighting. Utah’s Gordon Hayward, Rodney Hood and Trey Burke led a Jazz run that tied the game at 87-87 with 1:23 left.
The Thunder were on their heels, but Kevin Durant was just getting started.
After being a nonfactor for most of the second half, Durant knocked down the two biggest shots of the game. On the next Thunder possession after the Jazz tied it up, Durant responded by drilling a contested three pointer to give OKC the lead back. Then after OKC buckled down on the defensive end, Durant iced the game with a 16-foot dagger that silenced the Utah crowd.
In all, Durant scored 11 of his 21 points in the fourth quarter and was the biggest reason OKC came out on top. Russell Westbrook added 24 points, seven rebounds and seven assists, while Enes Kanter led all Thunder bench scorers with 11 points.
Hayward led the Jazz with 19 points and eight rebounds, while Trey Burke scored 16 points off the bench.