NBA Regular Season 2012-2013, Game 79:
Oklahoma City Thunder 90 @ Utah Jazz 80
I really don't know where to begin with this game. With the season hanging in the balance the Jazz fans expected our team to be locked in and engaged. Instead we got 17 turn overs (13 from our starters alone), sloppy play, and atrocious shooting. The fans who did participate in the whiteout did not get what they were looking for. And from the looks of the crowd during the game, among the empty seats we did see very few actually wearing white.
The Thunder took a 26-19 first quarter lead as they were running their offense, and getting little resistance beyond Derrick Favors doing everything he could to keep us in it. The second quarter had the Jazz score only 16 points total, which is a testament to having Enes Kanter, Marvin Williams, and Alec Burks all injured for this game. Without much help from our bench (11 total bench points in this game) the Jazz were not able to make their routine 2nd quarter counter attack. It was a low scoring game at halftime, and at times the Thunder looked to be toying with us.
Or maybe we were the Toy for the Thunder, as they dissuaded us from doing anything in the paint early, and let our guards shoot, shoot, and shoot to their hearts content. This is why I dislike the "take what the defense gives you" philosophy. You should try to run your stuff, and pur your mark on the game. And not adjust your game to what a superior opponent's game plan is. Randy Foye and Mo Williams finished this game with 29 points off of a combined 10 for 25 shooting performance (4 for 13 from downtown). They did have some nice passes and drives at time, which is good. But their defense was non-existent in face of Russell Westbrook's 25, he almost outscored them by himself, in four less shot attempts.
You can't really point fingers at this stage in the season, especially when playing a great team that made the NBA Finals last season without three of your rotation guys. It wasn't our sharpest outing, and while we made a game of it, getting as close as 4 points in the fourth quarter -- our early first half struggles with scoring were the end of us. We held OKC to only 90 points, we could have won this game if not for our team needing 79 shots to score 80 points (39.2 fg%), and turning the ball over 17 times.
The Jazz didn't play their game, and took what the OKC defense gave us. We plays the game they wanted to play, and they ended up winning. They earned this win for sure. But we made it easy on them. Especially with last second, OUT OF A TIME OUT, plays where they steal the inbounds pass and throw it down with authority on the other end.
The Thunder are apex predators leading up to the playoffs. And we're easy prey. They showed us that up close and personal tonight.
The Jazz fans wanted a win from the team and a whiteout showing from the fans.
Instead we got a complete wipeout.
Utah plays one more game at home, hosting the Minnesota Timberwolves. That will be fan appreciation night. We need that game like a fat kid needs a lifestyle change that includes a healthy diet and exercise.