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Utah Jazz struck by Oklahoma City Thunder

Utah was overmatched in this divisional matchup.

NBA: Utah Jazz at Oklahoma City Thunder Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

I’ve got a hot take here—stay with me—when your best defender, best scorer, and best backup point guard(s) are out, it’s tough to beat a team that features Russell Westbrook, Carmelo Anthony, and Paul George an honest-to-goodness NBA team.

This one started ugly, with the Jazz going down 21-5. Russell Westbrook, Steven Adams, and Jerami Grant had their way inside, and the Jazz couldn’t hang onto the rock. From there, the Jazz played the Thunder even at 32-32.

The Thunder kept the heat on in the third, and Paul George baptized Derrick Favors.

Anyway, the Thunder opened up a 70-44 lead on a 17-7 run, and never looked back. The Jazz offense had no fight, and the sets looked a little off. It’s amazing that a rookie being absent from the starting lineup has such an impact on how well the team plays.

Literally the only good thing that happened in the third was a long three at the buzzer from Alec Burks.


The fourth quarter was more of the same, as the Jazz laid enough bricks to build . . . I dunno, something big. I’m too depressed by this game to come up with a good analogy. We had a Royce O’Neal sighting around the 7:30 mark, which I was surprised didn’t happen earlier in the game. The bench completely emptied a couple minutes later, with Nate Wolters and Tony Bradley also getting some burn. Wolters showed some quickness getting some garbage time points, and Toney Bradley looked like he may have potential.

This loss sucked, but it wasn’t unexpected.

Game Notes:

Joe Johnson doesn’t look like himself. It may be age, or it may be that he hasn’t quite healed from his injury yet.

Rodney Hood led all scorers with 17 points on 5-11 shooting.

Ekpe Udoh played 18 minutes, made no field goals, had 3 points from free throws, and still finished at +8.

The Jazz will head home tonight to prep for a matchup against a convalescent Kawhi Leonard, a resurgent LaMarcus Aldridge, and the San Antonio Spurs, who also played tonight.