Thunder roll in 2nd half to bounce Jazz

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — With the Jazz focusing their attention on Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook was more than happy to be the star of the show.

“I was working on my shot all summer and I had lots of opportunities to shoot it tonight,” Westbrook said. “I had openings I needed to take advantage of.”

There were times Durant barely crossed halfcourt when Westbrook was already flying toward the hoop or spotting up for a jumper on his way to 28 points and helping the Oklahoma City Thunder beat the Utah Jazz 101-87 on Friday night.

The Thunder improved to 5-1 in games after a loss.

“This is what good teams do. We lost a tough one last night but we came in here and played a tough Utah team in their arena and come out with a win. That’s a good sign,” said Durant, who had 19 points the night after losing to Sacramento 106-101.

With Oklahoma City’s win, the Thunder (21-6) have clinched the best record in the conference through games played Feb. 15, meaning coach Scott Brooks will lead the Western Conference All-Stars for the game on Sunday, Feb. 26, in Orlando, Fla.

“That’s great for our team and our organization. I feel truly blessed to be a part of what’s going on with the Thunder right now,” Westbrook said.

The Jazz appeared determined to limit Durant’s offense — he had only 10 field goal attempts — but Westbrook found extra room to drive to the basket and created some fast breaks with five steals.

“I was taking what the defense was giving me,” Westbrook said.

Serge Ibaka had 16 points and 11 rebounds and Kendrick Perkins added 10 points and 10 rebounds.

The Jazz’s big men often helped on Westbrook and Durant, allowing the Thunder to out-rebound Utah 46-32.

“Their bigs did a good job inside and between the two of them, they had eight offensive rebounds and that hurt us,” Utah coach Ty Corbin said.

Al Jefferson led Utah with 20 points and Raja Bell and Gordon Hayward each had 13 points, but the Jazz dropped their fifth game in their past six.

Once Utah’s reserves drew to 78-73 early in the fourth quarter, the Thunder answered with a 7-0 run, capped by Nick Collison’s driving layup.

The Thunder finished their road trip with a 3-2 record.

Oklahoma City trailed for much of the first half until Durant scored on both ends of a 10-0 run that gave the Thunder a 46-40 lead with 2:15 until halftime.

“We didn’t have a lot of things going for us early but we fought and stuck together,” Brooks said. “The way we finished the game was good basketball.”

Though they have played the most road games in the Western Conference, the Thunder have compiled a 12-5 away record and looked fresh in the fourth quarter, relentlessly crowding the Jazz on defense.

The Jazz, meanwhile, have played 16 games at home (11-5) and the offense is beginning to sputter no matter where they are playing.

Utah hasn’t reached 100 points in its past four outings and didn’t get close Friday — even though the Thunder had given up at least 106 points on each of the other four games of the road trip.

“They were aggressive and we got stuck in one mode and were never able to transition into something else to see what would happen,” Bell said.

The Jazz took their last lead at 58-56 on Jefferson’s jumper with 7:28 left in the third. But Westbrook scored six in a 16-4 run to boost the Thunder to a 72-62 lead.

In a three-minute span in the first half, Earl Watson found C.J. Miles for three alley-oop dunks with Durant trailing the plays. But the Thunder found their defensive stride in the second half.

“We gave up some easy baskets early but we locked down after that and didn’t let them have what they wanted,” Durant said.

The game marked one year since the abrupt resignation of longtime Jazz coach Jerry Sloan and the hiring of Ty Corbin. Corbin is 21-32 as a head coach.

NOTES: The Jazz signed free agent forward DeMarre Carroll on Thursday after Denver waived him, but he did not dress. … Thabo Sefolosha missed his eighth game with a sore right foot. … Westbrook has averaged more than 30 points against the Jazz in the past three games. … Paul Millsap was averaging 25.5 points on 64.1 percent shooting in his past four games against the Thunder before going 4 of 15 for just 10 points in this one.