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Bad first half haunts Thunder

The Oklahoma City Thunder couldn’t overcome a sluggish 15-minute span in the first half as the Thunder fell to the Utah Jazz 96-87 on Saturday night.

Oklahoma City went 2-of-28 over 15 minutes and 20 seconds, spanning the second quarter. Which saw Oklahoma City getting outscored by the Jazz 27-9 over the time span.

Oklahoma City falls to 1-1 on the season, losing their first season opener since 2014.

Despite trailing by 19 in the first half, the Thunder came out heating up in the early part of the second half, outscoring Utah 10-4 to start the third. However, that’s as close as Oklahoma City would get in the second half. Utah responded with an 8-0 run to squash any come back.

The Jazz did a great job of limiting the Thunder in the paint. Oklahoma City only scored 20 points in the paint, which without the deep research, it has to be one of the lowest in Thunder history.

Utah, on a second night of a back-to-back, and without Rodney Hood, really took it to Oklahoma City. Every time the Thunder needed a stop the Jazz were able to either hit the big shot or find the offensive rebound, leading to a couple of points.

Oklahoma City’s hole in the first half was as large as a 38-19 deficit in the second quarter. They fought hard, closing the half on a 15-6 run. The Thunder only trailed 44-34 at the break.

Utah pushed the lead out to 73-53 with 1:53 left in the third quarter. Oklahoma City used a 16-3 run to get within single digits again. However, Utah was once again able to keep the Thunder at arm’s length.

Rudy Gobert and Derek Favors did a really good job for the Jazz of protecting the paint. Oklahoma City only scored 20 points in the paint, only six in the first half.

Westbrook finished the game 2-of-11 from the field for six points. He pulled down 13 rebounds and dished out nine assists. It ends a three-game triple-double streak against Utah.

“I would never use the word hesitant [on Westbrook],” Donovan said. “You’ll have to ask him what happened.”

Carmelo Anthony led all scores with 26 points on 26 shots. Paul George finished with 22 points, five rebounds and five steals. He also turned it over six times.

Anthony really started chucking the ball up in the second half when Oklahoma City fell behind big. It helped a bit seeing Oklahoma City come back but it wasn’t enough to make it worthwhile.

The Thunder will forget this one and get ready for the Minnesota Timberwolves tomorrow night. Minnesota comes in to the game 1-1 on the season, with a loss to the Spurs and a win over the Jazz. Tip-off is scheduled for 6 p.m. on FS Oklahoma.

Keys to the Game

Bench Performance: C

Oklahoma City’s bench scored 28 points (6-of-15 FG, 4-of-10 3PT) did their thing. However, it was primarily in the second half. In the first half, the Thunder’s bench struggled, scoring only five points. They had only seven in the first three quarters in the win over New York. This has to be improved.

Go Fast: F

Only eight fast break points tonight. They did force 19 turnovers, turning that into 24 points. However, they really didn’t use this to their advantage and we’ll see this improve. However, with all this fire power, you have to use it.

Limit Foul Trouble: A

Well, if we’re looking for positives, this is really the only good one. Oklahoma City had no one with more than three fouls. George and Anthony had three each to lead the team. Everyone else remain in pretty good standing.

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