The Oklahoma City Thunder finally did something impressive, storming back from as many as 17 down to beat the Utah Jazz 100-94 on Tuesday evening.
Oklahoma City improves to 11-12 on the season and now have won three straight.
“Our guys were flying around, and our energy picked up,”Thunder head coach Billy Donovan said. “The second unit played so hard and with great effort.
It appeared to a bad Thunder game as the Oklahoma City fell behind by double digits early on. However, it was an impressive fourth quarter, powered by Steven Adams and Russell Westbrook. The MVP-Kiwi duo found themselves tag teaming the Thunder’s come back.
“His [Westbrook] never-die attitude was just keeping us alive,” Donovan said.
Westbrook finished with 14 assists and 13 rebounds. Steven Adams had 20 points and nine rebounds.
“People have it really backwards,” Donovan said. “That’s the greatness to me of Carmelo Anthony. The reason Steven’s doing what he’s doing is because of Carmelo Anthony and Paul George.”
The Jazz led 47-39 at halftime. However, Utah hit a three to start the half. They would eventually expand their lead to 72-55 with 4:13 left in the third. It appeared the Jazz had the game in hand but Westbrook would not let the Thunder quit. Westbrook scored 11 of the Thunder’s 13 points to end the quarter. An Adams’ tip-in was the only other points.
“I give those guys a lot of credit coming out in the second half and self correcting,” Donovan said.
While Westbrook did all the heroics, the Thunder still trailed by 12 after three frames. The reserves stepped up, cutting it to 82-76 with 7:30 left in the game.
Westbrook would force a steal off a really nice Adams hedge; he took the ball, racing off to the rim and giving the Thunder a 88-87 lead with 4:10 remaining.
Carmelo Anthony started the game going 2-of-13. Hit four of his last six shots, all in the fourth quarter. A nice pick-and-pop from Westbrook extended a Thunder lead. While he didn’t hit a three all game long, he never quit within the offense.
Oklahoma City’s largest lead grew to 99-92 with 26 seconds remaining after a pair of Westbrook free throws.
With a win streak on the line, the Oklahoma City Thunder are going to Mexico to play the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday night. Oklahoma City and Brooklyn tips off at 8 p.m.
Keys to the Game
Oklahoma City dominated the boards and the Jazz. It’s once again showing how out the Thunder are dominate are when they can control the glass. Oklahoma City out rebounded the Jazz 47-36 and more importantly 27-16 in the second half.
Points off turnovers: C
Oklahoma City had 18 points off 18 Jazz turnovers. It really wasn’t earth shattering. The Thunder did struggle in the first half. In the second half, the Thunder have nine points off five Utah turnovers. So, there was some considerable improvement in the second half.
Get to the line: A+
Oklahoma City attempted 26 attempts on Tuesday night. It’s the most free throws in a victory since Oklahoma City beat the Warriors in what feels like forever ago. Oklahoma City went 18-of-26 from the line. Which leaves a lot to be considered in terms of making their shots. That’s for another time.We invite you to follow Thunder Digest on Twitter and like Thunder Digest on Facebook. Don't forget to subsribe on Youtube! Our Podcast is on iTunes and on Stitcher. We also have a Thunder Digest Instagram account if you love fun Thunder photography!