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News » Third period proves pivotal, and pitiful, for Jazz

Third period proves pivotal, and pitiful, for Jazz

Third period proves pivotal, and pitiful, for Jazz The young woman sporting an Oklahoma City jersey and holding an "I luv Kevin Durant" sign probably had a blast in the third quarter Tuesday night. The pivotal period, however, was anything but thrilling for those in the smaller-than-average EnergySolutions Arena crowd of 17,937 who don't share her fond feelings for the Thunder star. Utah Jazz fans sat stunned ? and mostly quiet, aside from some scattered moans and groans ?

as the home team reverted back to its struggling ways while watching a one-point lead turn into a massive deficit during a quarter that proved costly in an eventual 104-94 loss. "It seemed like it was a close game," Jazz forward Carlos Boozer said. "You blink, and it was a 17-point game." It even got a bit worse than that. After falling behind 54-53 a half-minute into the third quarter, Oklahoma City surged to an 84-68 lead by the end of the period. The Thunder built the lead to as many as 19 points in the fourth. The third quarter, though, was where the Thunder made the most noise. That's when up-and-coming star Kevin Durant scored 11 of his game-high 28 points to set the tone for Oklahoma City. In the period, the lightning-fast Thunder also forced the Jazz into six turnovers, shot 56.5 percent while Utah missed 11-of-18 shots, and used separate spurts of 7-2 and 10-2 to leap way ahead of the home team. "They just came out with more energy than us. That's all I can say about it," Jazz backup power forward Paul Millsap said. "We've got to do a better job in the second half (of) getting up in people and playing them better defensively." Boozer admitted the Jazz struggled to communicate when they switched momentarily to a zone, leading to a couple of easy Thunder buckets by Durant and Jeff Green. But the Jazz also seized up on offense, scoring just 16 points while making bad passes, missing jumpers, and getting called for charging, traveling and a three-second lane violation in the third. Meanwhile, the Thunder simply stroked it in from everywhere, especially from long distance. Green, Durant and Russell Westbrook each drilled 3-pointers, as OKC scored 21 of its 31 points that quarter from outside of the paint. "What happened (is) we didn't do a very good job trying to contend them," said Jazz coach Jerry Sloan, who was effusive in his praise for the Thunder. "You've got to block them off the boards. ... You've got to help each other on the defensive end. "We got confused as to what we were doing," he added, "and when we have that kind of problem, it's tough to regroup and pull yourself out of a slump." Like his coach, Boozer credited Oklahoma City ? especially Durant ? for taking it to the Jazz . "We had a couple of turnovers in a row and they had a couple of shots in row," Boozer said. "I'm going to tell ya, that kid Durant, he hit some tough shots." Ultimately, though, Boozer admitted the Jazz can't let that happen. "We've got to do better than that," Boozer said. "We can't go down by 17 at home and expect to have enough to come back and win." At least one fan on this night wasn't complaining. e-mail:

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Added: November 26, 2009


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