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Oklahoma City Thunder 99, Utah Jazz 94: A game that slipped away with Durant's slippery drive and kick

Once upon a time, a photo like this one would say: "Jazz player tries to block Thunder player's shot." Not so this time. Official caption: "Serge Ibaka attempts a shot against Rudy Gobert." We have something magical in our center.

Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Throughout the 4th quarter, I was nervous. It felt like the Jazz were scoring when the Thunder did, and missing when the Thunder got nothing. I didn't like it. Durant and such were too good for the Jazz to trade points, they needed some makes and they needed to get a cushion.

And then, 30-something seconds left, the Jazz down by one, they allowed a wide open three ... the absolute worst outcome in the world. Such a bummer. The defense simply collapsed on Durant, all five guys, and instead of giving up a layup (which would be unfortunate), they gave up a 3. Which was killer.

Such a disappointing finish to a strong, strong game.

* * *

For the Jazz, they got major contributions from a lot, including three 20-piont games:

  • Gordon Hayward — 27 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists, and 3 steals
  • Derrick Favors — 22 points, 11 rebounds, 3 blocks, and an assist
  • Trey Burke — 20 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists, and 2 steals
  • Rudy Gobert — 4 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals, and 7 blocks (!!!!)
  • Trevor Booker — 7 points, 9 rebounds, and a steal, and the most awesome, ridiculous shot of the night. I was really hoping, for the entire second half, that the Jazz would win by 1 point ... which would have made that shot the difference. So tragic to lose such a great dream like that.
  • Elijah Millsap — 9 points, 4 rebounds, 2 steals, and my favorite block of the night (which is saying something when Rudy's all Ruding all game long), He also got the traditional "ugh, really ... you're calling that a foul" calls that must get whistled on Jazzmen named Millsap

The Thunder were led, of course, by Kevin Durant had 32 points, including some absurd fallaway shots in the 4th quarter. Westbrook gave 25, and Waiters chipped in 15.

* * *

I think Westbrook's greatest weapon is his smirk. I think he must have learned in about 4th grade that if he smiled at people like that, they would self-combust out of the need to punch the stupid prick.

* * *

A disappointing ending, but a lot of fun things to watch. Rudy Gobert doing Rudy Gobert things. Favors having some beast moments. Hayward with a couple crazy shots.

But most of all, it was fun to see the team play hard and pretty effectively on defense for most of the night. A lot can happen in a long, long season ... including a team that struggled in the first month learning some of the things to help them win. They didn't get a win tonight, but the right habits and play is developing.

Yucca out.