NBA

Wed, Mar 23, 2011 - 8:00 PM ET
Game Recap
 

Thunder 106, Jazz 94

Share This Story

   
 

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP)

With the season winding down, the Oklahoma City Thunder are getting closer every day to locking up a spot in the playoffs.

The Utah Jazz are falling ever closer to missing out for the first time in five years.

Russell Westbrook scored 31 points, Kevin Durant added 29 and Oklahoma City pulled away from the depleted Jazz in the second half for a 106-94 victory Wednesday night.

The Thunder bounced back from a loss to Toronto to win for the 10th time in 12 games.

''I think that we've just got to continue on this path. I think we're on a good roll right now,'' Durant said. ''Even though we lost against Toronto, I think we're still feeling good.''

The Jazz played without starting point guard Devin Harris because of a strained right hamstring, and Andrei Kirilenko sat out the second half after bruising a nerve in his left knee. That proved to be too much to overcome.

Utah eliminated an early 10-point deficit and was up by one early in the third quarter, but Durant and Westbrook eventually took over.

Al Jefferson had 32 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Jazz, who fell to .500 for the first time since Nov. 6 and dropped four games behind Memphis for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference with 10 games left.

''We're gonna just fight, fight until the end,'' Jefferson said. ''We have another game tomorrow (against New Orleans) and we're just gonna keep fighting.''

Westbrook had a three-point play and a 3-pointer during a 17-6 run that put the Thunder ahead to stay. Nazr Mohammed's jumper from the right side to open the fourth quarter finished the decisive run and put Oklahoma City up 80-69.

Durant added back-to-back 3-pointers in a string of eight straight Thunder points that pushed the edge to 98-80 with 5:32 to play before the Jazz cut that lead in half by rallying mostly from the foul line.

Serge Ibaka contributed 15 points, 13 rebounds and four blocks for the Thunder. He has 45 blocks in 12 games this month, coinciding with his move to power forward after Oklahoma City acquired centers Kendrick Perkins and Mohammed at the trade deadline.

Over the course of a six-game homestand - the Thunder's longest of the season - coach Scott Brooks has said one key goal is to use the extra practice time to get the new players integrated with the playoffs approaching.

''I feel like we're good. Of course, I know some of the small things on the offensive side. But they've got everything on the defensive end down,'' Durant said. ''It's just a matter of knowing where they want the ball, them knowing where we want the ball and small things like that.''

Perkins was disappointed in the role he played in allowing Jefferson's big game, but any time he can get playing with his new teammates is invaluable, even if he's doing it with braces on each knee.

''I'm just trying to harp on doing it together. We've got a group of young guys, and I know they all want to do well. Everybody wants to do well,'' Perkins said. ''What you tend to learn from being around older guys is that when you throw all the hidden agendas out of the way, you throw all the stats out of the way and if you just go out there and play to win the game, I think everybody gets a piece of the pie at the end of the day.''

Paul Millsap had 18 points and Earl Watson scored 10 after starting in place of Harris, who was a game-time decision after getting hurt early in Utah's loss at Memphis on Monday.

Kirilenko was the latest one added to the injury mix, suffering a bruised peroneal nerve and missing the second half. X-rays were negative. Rookie Gordon Hayward took his place with the starters after halftime.

''He is a veteran guy,'' Jazz coach Ty Corbin said. ''He can play a couple different positions for us, and his activity makes us better. When he isn't on the floor, we have to go younger and we don't have guys who can be as versatile as he is so it hurts us to come out of the lineup.''

The Jazz were as much as 14 games over .500 in mid-January at 27-13 - the same record as the Thunder at that point. But since then, the franchise has seen longtime coach Jerry Sloan retire and All-Star point guard Deron Williams get traded away, with the situation only complicated by a series of injuries.

Utah is 9-23 over that span, while Oklahoma City is 18-11 and in position for home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs.

Notes: Perkins picked up a technical foul in the final minute of the first half for slapping away Millsap's hand under the basket after the two had been battling for rebounding position on what ended up being a made jumper by Jefferson. ''He plays with a lot of anger, he plays with a lot of toughness, he does not like other teams, and we like that,'' Brooks said. ''He shows you how he feels, and it's not happy.'' ... Oklahoma City has lost back-to-back home games only once all season. ... Utah, which lost its first two games of the season, improved to 3-3 with a win against the Los Angeles Clippers on Nov. 6 and had been above .500 since then.

Tagged: Thunder, Jazz, Earl Watson, Kendrick Perkins, Al Jefferson, Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook

Related Stories

Member Comments

Please note by clicking on "Post comment" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Use and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be Polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator.

powered by


NBA Videos

NBA considering mid-season Vegas tournament? Posted: Jul 16, 2014
Adam Silver confirms the NBA has engaged in early conversations about the possib...

LeBron and Blatt 'will work together beautifully' Posted: Jul 14, 2014
Cavaliers head coach David Blatt on LeBron James' decision to return to Clevelan...

LeBron's back and so are the Cavs Posted: Jul 11, 2014
FOX Sports 1's Gary Payton weighs-in on LeBron's decision to return to Cleveland...

More Than Sports on MSN

Fox Sports Store

    itemName itemURL imageSrc price itemDescription
    adidas Blake Griffin Los Angeles Clippers Revolution 30 Performance Jersey - Red http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Los_Angeles_Clippers/browse/featuredproduct/491845/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_491000/ff_491845_xl.jpg&w=100 59.95 adidas Blake Griffin Los Angeles Clippers Revolution 30 Performance Jersey - Red
    adidas LeBron James Miami Heat Revolution 30 Swingman Performance Jersey-Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Miami_Heat/browse/featuredproduct/498609/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_498000/ff_498609_xl.jpg&w=100 89.95 adidas LeBron James Miami Heat Revolution 30 Swingman Performance Jersey-Black
    adidas Carmelo Anthony New York Knicks Revolution 30 Swingman Performance Jersey - Royal Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_New_York_Knicks/browse/featuredproduct/620470/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_620000/ff_620470_xl.jpg&w=100 49.99 adidas Carmelo Anthony New York Knicks Revolution 30 Swingman Performance Jersey..
    Mitchell & Ness San Antonio Spurs Black Solid Script Snapback Adjustable Hat http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_San_Antonio_Spurs/browse/featuredproduct/692239/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_692000/ff_692239_xl.jpg&w=100 25.95 Mitchell & Ness San Antonio Spurs Black Solid Script Snapback Adjustable Hat
    Majestic Kobe Bryant Los Angeles Lakers Logo Man T-Shirt - Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Los_Angeles_Lakers/browse/featuredproduct/851828/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_851000/ff_851828_xl.jpg&w=100 23.95 Majestic Kobe Bryant Los Angeles Lakers Logo Man T-Shirt - Black
    Majestic Kevin Durant Oklahoma City Thunder Logo Man T-Shirt - White http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Oklahoma_City_Thunder/browse/featuredproduct/851842/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_851000/ff_851842_xl.jpg&w=100 23.95 Majestic Kevin Durant Oklahoma City Thunder Logo Man T-Shirt - White
    adidas Miami Heat 2012 NBA Eastern Conference Champions Locker Room T-Shirt - White http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Miami_Heat/browse/featuredproduct/890174/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_890000/ff_890174_xl.jpg&w=100 21.95 adidas Miami Heat 2012 NBA Eastern Conference Champions Locker Room T-Shirt - Wh..
    adidas Oklahoma City Thunder 2012 NBA Western Conference Champions Locker Room Flex Hat - Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Oklahoma_City_Thunder/browse/featuredproduct/890384/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_890000/ff_890384_xl.jpg&w=100 19.99 adidas Oklahoma City Thunder 2012 NBA Western Conference Champions Locker Room F..