In a hard-fought game that stretched into blowout territory for the Utah Jazz (16-10), they ultimately beat Enes "yumuşak" (Turkish for "soft") Kanter and the Oklahoma City Westbrooks (15-11) like a rented mule, or a whiny Istan-BULL with an albatross contract, if you prefer, 109-89. They beat them like The Undertaker would beat the Pillsbury Doughboy. Can you tell I'm not fond of our friend who wears number 11 for the Thunder? At any rate, he got his stats but, as always, he took the L (Love you, Trevor Booker). Speaking of stats, check these out:
Remember the Tyrone Corbin days when seeing a good look from three-point land was like seeing Enes Kanter play defense? Pepperidge Farm remembers. Fortunately, those days are behind us. Tonight, Joe Ingles continued his post-baby bump, Rodney Hood made some serious noise in his return, and the Jazz shot 13-23 (56.5%) from beyond the arc. Boom.
I usually don't care for +/- except for the one at the end. However, there were only two OKC players with a positive individual +/-, which illustrates just how thoroughly they were dismantled. The starters didn't show up, and neither did the bench. They miss Victor Oladipo. I could have easily listed 3P% as a key stat for the Thunder as well, because they shot a putrid 6-19 from the three-point line for 31.6%.
Facepalm Picard: Russell Westbrook
Yes, he scored 27 points, but he took 25 shots to do it. Since the Thunder are made up of Westbrook, spare parts, and Enes Kanter, the Jazz were able to focus their defensive efforts on him. It was like he was being controlled by a rookie NBA 2K player:
- Dribble down court
- Repeat steps 1-2
To be sure, this works sometimes—he's that good—but it didn't work tonight.
Happy Picard: Shelvin Mack
I've been tough on Shelvin this season, and I still think Raúl Neto should be getting more minutes, but I have to give the man credit: he played solid defense on Russell Westbrook and finished with a line of 15 points on 5-6 shooting, 5 rebounds and 5 assists, with nine of those points coming from three-point range. That said, Mack reminds me of C.J. Miles: for every game in which he shoots 5-6, there's a couple 1-5 games to follow it up.
This was a solid win against a division rival. The next four games include matchups against the Dallas Mavericks, Memphis Grizzlies, Golden State Warriors and Sacramento Kings. I say they go 3-1 (insert Dubs joke here).
The Jazz are 5-2 this month. December has traditionally not been a great month for our guys, as I noted here. As it stands now, they're on pace to have their best season in a decade.