This is another one that should be very short and sweet. This, like the Kings game, was another in which the Thunder never trailed. But, unlike the Kings game, the Jazz couldn’t even manage to tie this one at any point. The Thunder were already up 11-0 by the time the Jazz scored their first bucket at the 7:34 mark of the 1st quarter. Yes. The Jazz were actually held scoreless for nearly 5 1/2 minutes, and were held to a total of 9 1st quarter points as a team. The Thunder led by as much as 28 (84-56 with 4:04 remaining in the 3rd quarter).
With the lead still 28 (86-58), and 3:31 left in the 3rd, the Jazz sparked a 19-3 run to pull within 12 (89-77) with 26.7 seconds left in the 3rd. That’s when the Thunder decided they’d had enough, and sparked a 17-7 run of their own to push the lead back to 22 (106-84) with 5:49 to play, effectively shutting down any chance at a Jazz comeback. Once all was said and done, the Thunder had taken a 116-96 victory that jumps their record to 53-19, while dropping the Jazz to a dismal 23-51.
Kevin Durant’s 31-point performance now has him two games away from tying MJ’s mark of 40-straight set back in the ’86-’87 season, which is made even more impressive when you factor in that Durant was 1 assist shy of a double-double. Russell Westbrook dropped 19 points, while Serge Ibaka posted 17. Caron Butler scored 15 off of the Thunder bench.
Enes Kanter posted an 18-point, 12-rebound double-double for the Jazz, while Richard Jefferson added 17 points, and Gordon Hayward added 16. Derrick Favors only had 8 points, but pulled down 13 rebounds, and Alec Burks was good for 12 points off of the Jazz bench.
Tonight, the top two teams in the Western Conference square off, as the Thunder welcome the Spurs into The Peake to take a crack at their current 19-game winning streak. Keep in mind, the Thunder are currently 4 games behind the Spurs for the top seed in the West. The Thunder already snapped an 11-game Spurs winning streak back on 11-27, and are 3-0 against them this season. This will easily be the toughest test to that winning streak. It’s a game with playoff seeding implications, so TNT is featuring it as the opening game of their double-header, starting at 7pm CST. You can also catch the action via Fox Sports Oklahoma, and WWLS The Sports Animal.