The Thunder held a 17-point first-half lead. Things were going beautifully. Then reality set back in.
Oklahoma City shot a woeful 36 percent from the floor as the Utah Jazz came from behind and pulled away for a 98-81 victory in Salt Lake City on Tuesday. It is OKC's fourth sub-40-percent shooting performance of the season in just 12 games.
The Thunder exploded out of the gate and snatched a 23-14 lead after one. Despite their understandable offensive struggles this season, the shorthanded Thunder has done a remarkable job on the defensive side. That didn't change on Tuesday.
OKC extended its lead to 37-20 at the 7:09 mark of the second quarter, but the shots stopped falling and the Jazz warmed up. Utah ended the quarter on a 20-5 run and cut the Thunder lead to two by halftime.
In the third quarter, the Thunder's defense abandoned them. Utah dropped 32 and buried Oklahoma City's chances.
“We got up 17 and we stopped doing what we were doing,” Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. “And in the second half, the defense wasn't as good as it's been all year. And we were missing shots.”
Jeremy Lamb led the Thunder with 19 points on 5-15 shooting. Reggie Jackson struggled and managed just 10 points on 4-13 from the floor. Steven Adams was the only other Thunder player in double figures, adding 11 points and eight boards. Serge Ibaka played one of his worst games in recent memory, finishing with just six points on 2-13 shooting.
All five Jazz starters scored in double figures. Alec Burks led the way with 20 points and 14 rebounds. Utah outrebounded the Thunder 55-44 and outscored them 42-26 in the paint.
The loss drops the Thunder to 3-9 on the season. OKC is back on the floor at Denver on Wednesday night then heads home to face the Brooklyn Nets on Friday.