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Huge second half propels the Jazz to a 124-117 win over the Thunder

The Jazz battled hard with one of the league’s best teams and came out on top.

Oklahoma City Thunder v Utah Jazz Photo by Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images

After battling the entire game, the Utah Jazz beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 124-117. The Thunder made 19 threes and had big performances from their three stars, but Utah kept fighting.

Utah struggles to defend most teams, but especially three-point shooting teams. The Thunder had way too many open threes, and they were draining them. Oklahoma City built a double-digit lead early and kept piling on the threes. Lauri Markkanen and John Collins were scoring enough to keep Utah close. Kris Dunn was the most effective defender for the Jazz tonight. He was all over the court, racking up both steals and blocks. His defense on Shai Gilgeous-Alexander may have been the main reason the Jazz stayed in the game.

After another three-point barrage from the Thunder, Will Hardy went with a lineup that he rarely uses, which included Dunn and Walker Kessler- the two best defenders on the team. Unsurprisingly, the Jazz began to get stops. OKC was up 89-77 with 5:28 left in the third quarter. The Jazz went on a 19-3 run to close the quarter up 96-92. Lauri Markkanen hit threes, Kessler blocked shots, and the rookie Keyonte George navigated the offense.

The fourth quarter was a physical challenge. Both teams fought hard for the win. The Thunder slowly but surely worked their way back into a one-point lead with 4:41 left. Dunn, George, Markkanen, and Kessler took over the game from that point onward. Keyonte and Lauri took turns hitting huge clutch shots while Kris and Walker shut down the Thunder’s offense.

Player of the game

Lauri Markkanen scored 33 points on 67/71/100 shooting splits and grabbed 11 rebounds while he was at it. He’s just so consistently good.

Honorable mentions:

Keyonte George: 16 points (6-11 FG, 4-6 3P), five assists

Kris Dunn: Eight points, five assists, four steals, three blocks, three rebounds

John Collins: 22 points (9-15 FG), nine rebounds

Walker Kessler: Four points (2-2 FG), nine rebounds, three blocks

Kelly Olynyk: Ten points (4-6 FG), seven assists, only 16 minutes

This was an impressive game for many players. The Jazz have plenty of flaws as a team, but they work as hard as anybody. Will Hardy’s willingness to close games with different lineups is another massive factor in this win.