The Oklahoma City Thunder are trying to stick together as they endure some major shooting woes.
They’ll be out to turn around those fortunes Friday night as they look to defeat the Utah Jazz for the eighth straight time at home.
Oklahoma City (17-19) has turned in its two worst shooting efforts with Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook together in the lineup. The Thunder shot 30.6 percent in Monday’s 117-91 defeat at Golden State and finished at 32.6 percent in a 104-83 defeat at Sacramento on Wednesday.
Durant went 11 of 36 in those games and totaled 38 points while Westbrook was 8 for 40 and scored 32.
"We just have to move on," Durant said. "We don’t come in here to pop champagne bottles when we win. So we can’t panic because we lost."
Oklahoma City’s only worse effort from the field was when it shot 29.4 percent in a 69-65 defeat to Houston on Nov. 16, a game both superstars missed.
"We’re going to stay together, we’re going to figure out ways to improve going into our next game against Utah," coach Scott Brooks said. "They’re a young developing team. We’re going to have to be ready to play."
Utah (13-23) has split two matchups with Oklahoma City this season, though Durant and Westbrook didn’t play in either.
The Jazz are seeking their first three-game road win streak since March 29-April 15, 2013. They held Chicago to 33.3 percent shooting – their second-lowest mark allowed – in a surprising 97-77 road rout Wednesday.
"We caught them on a tough night," coach Quin Snyder said. "But that doesn’t diminish the fact that we were clicking a little bit on the defensive end."
Derrick Favors had 20 points – giving him 47 in the past two games – along with 11 rebounds for the Jazz, winners of seven of 11.
Snyder has implemented a style in which Utah averages a league-high 376.3 passes, though his team is one of the worst in the NBA with 20.1 assists per game.
The Thunder average a Western Conference-low 19.6 assists. They had 16 assists to 24 turnovers against the Kings for their poorest ratio of the season.
"We have to do better, we have to play better (and) we have to lock in defensively," Brooks said.
Oklahoma City has made 14 of 58 3-pointers (24.1 percent) in its last two games and is last in the West at 32.0 percent.
These teams are second and third in the NBA in rebound margin, with Oklahoma City at plus-4.1 and Utah at plus-3.1.
The Jazz held a 55-44 edge on the glass in a 98-81 home victory over the Thunder on Nov. 18. Eight days later, Oklahoma City enjoyed a 45-38 rebounding advantage in a 97-82 win over Utah.
The Jazz look more formidable inside now that Rudy Gobert has started at center the last three games. Gobert had 35 points, 29 rebounds and 14 blocks while shooting 70.0 percent in those contests.
Thunder shot-blocking specialist Serge Ibaka had a season-high eight Wednesday.