The Utah Jazz dropped it's third straight game Wednesday night in Oklahoma City. On the last night of a tough road trip, the Jazz showed a good effort through most of the game, but ran out of gas in the end on their way to a 106-94 loss.
The Jazz kept the score close through most of the first half, and trailed by only 5 at the break due to hustle plays and good three point shooting. They did have a one point lead in the third and were able to tie a couple of times, but the Thunder lead stretched to 9 by the end of the quarter. The Thunder were able to close out the game and cruise in the final period to gain the win.
Although the Jazz played well, the main turning point of this game came on a hustle play just before the half. Following a monster block by Thunder forward Serge Ibaka, and a loose ball down court, Jazz forward Andrei Kirilenko slammed his left knee against the court as he came up with the ball. He was unable to return to the game. Reports indicate that he has a bruised nerve in his knee.
After the injury and in the second half it seemed that the Jazz just ran out of gas. With the exception of Al Jefferson, and Paul Millsap, the Jazz offense went cold. At the same time, Westbrook and Durant began heating up, resulting in the 12 point margin of victory.
Other factors that played a role in this game were the continuing injury problems the Jazz have, other players not supporting Al Jefferson, and the Jazz being hit again by poor shooting and turnovers. Although Fransisco Elson returned for the Jazz, they were still without a full team. Starting point guard Devin Harris was ruled out before the game, and Derrick Favors did not play. As a team they shot only 44.9% and coughed up 14 turnovers.
Al Jefferson added another 30+ point game to his season by scoring 32. Despite his big game he was visibly frustrated with the loss. Front court mate Paul Millsap scored 18, but other than that there was not much offensive contribution.
News and Notes:
With this loss, the Jazz drop to a .500 record for the first time since November 6 when they were 3-3. They now sit at 36-36 with 10 games remaining.
Tonight was the 21st time this season that the Jazz have lost by 10 points or more.
The Jazz will return to Salt Lake City tomorrow night for the second half of a back to back against the Hornets. Before the Deron Williams trade, this was a game that Jazz fans got excited to see because of the Williams-Chris Paul match-up. Now it is just another game.
Fan Question of the night:
Following the last game there has been a lot of speculation that the Jazz have given up on the season. Amid huge amounts of frustration, players insist that they are still fighting and waiting to see what happens.
What is your impression of the team at this point in the season. Have they given up, or are they showing that they still have some fight left in them? Please leave your thoughts below.For more of my articles, contact me at http://www.examiner.com/utah-jazz-in-salt-lake-city/chris-johstoneaux