One night after a disappointing last-minute loss to the Timberwolves, the Jazz returned home and regrouped in a big way with a 96-87 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Saturday.
The Jazz clamped down on defense from the very beginning, holding the Thunder to 14 points in the first quarter and only 34 by halftime. OKC shot 30.2 percent from the field in the first half.
Joe Ingles led five Jazz players in double figures with 19 points. Rudy Gobert double-doubled with 16 points and 13 rebounds, while Ricky Rubio added 16 points, six rebounds and five assists in a team-high 37 minutes.
Derrick Favors scored 13 points in 25 minutes, and Joe Johnson came off the bench to score 12 points.
Reigning MVP Russell Westbrook scored only six points on 2-for-11 shooting. Westbrook did grab 13 rebounds and dish out nine assists, but he shot 1-for-4 from the free-throw line and committed seven turnovers. Last season, Westbrook averaged 31.6 points, 10.7 rebounds and 10.4 assists per game, and he failed to score in double figures only once—on the last day of the regular season when he scored five points in only 18 minutes.
The other two members of OKC’s vaunted “Big Three”—Carmelo Anthony (26 points on 12-for-26 shooting) and Paul George (22 points, five steals)—led the Thunder in scoring. They were the only OKC players to score in double figures.
“Obviously they’re a great team,” Ingles said “Those three guys are All-Stars, and you just want to try to make it as tough as possible. We were able to box out, rebound and get out in transition, which is how we want to play.”
Ingles once again had the hot hand, shooting 7-for-12 from the field (including 5-for-9 from beyond the arc). He’s now 12-for-19 (63.2 percent) from 3-point range so far this season. When the Thunder pulled within four early in the third quarter, Ingles answered with a corner three to swing the momentum back to the Jazz. Overall, he finished with 19 points, three rebounds, two assists, two steals and a block.
The game was tight early, but the Jazz caught fire late in the first quarter and didn’t look back, going on a 27-7 run that gave them the lead for good. A dunk by Gobert and a 3-pointer by Alec Burks got the Jazz rolling as seven different Utah players scored during that stretch.
The Thunder opened the second half on a 10-4 run to pull within four, but Ingles canned a step-back three and then made a layup. A technical free throw by Rubio and dunk by Gobert pushed Utah’s lead back to 12.
OKC’s trio of Westbrook (2-for-11), Anthony (12-for-26) and George (8-for-19) combined for only 54 points on 39.3 percent shooting. Last season, the three (who played on three different teams) combined to average 77.7 points per game.
The Jazz doubled up the Thunder, outscoring them 40-20 in the paint. OKC had no answer for Utah’s physicality, especially the trio of Gobert, Favors and Ekpe Udoh.
The Jazz grabbed 11 steals tonight, marking the second time in three games that they’ve finished with double-digit thefts. They had nine against Denver in the opener and 10 against Minnesota on Friday night. Thabo Sefolosha led the way with three steals in 28 minutes off the bench.
Coach’s Quote of the Night
“We talked about trying to have energy tonight on the second night of a back-to-back, and I was happy with the way we came out and played defensively. Obviously we had a really good night and the score reflected that. Hopefully we can continue to play hard and share the ball, and maybe there’s more of those nights ahead of us.”
Jazz head coach Quin Snyder
Rodney Hood (calf) did not play for the Jazz. … Donovan Mitchell, who started in Hood’s place, shot only 1-for-7 from the field but finished with a team-high six assists in 22 minutes. … Anthony and Steven Adams both received technical fouls for OKC. … Royce O’Neale saw his first action for the Jazz, finishing with one rebound in one minute of play.
The Jazz will hit the road to face the LA Clippers on Tuesday. Tipoff is set for 8:30pm MT.