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News » Utah Jazz: Thunderstruck in OKC


Utah Jazz: Thunderstruck in OKC


Utah Jazz: Thunderstruck in OKC
OKLAHOMA CITY -- They had won all of six games this season. They had lost their last five in a row against the Jazz.

The Oklahoma City Thunder beat Utah on Wednesday night? And not just win, but win big?

Yeah, right.

Yet the NBA's cellar-dwelling Thunder -- nee Seattle Sonics -- did just that, thumping the embarrassed Jazz 114-93 at the Ford Center to end Utah's four-game win streak and extend its streak of consecutive losses on the road to five.

"We stunk," shooting guard Kyle Korver said afterward. "That's all there is to it."

Certainly, though, it seems there had to be more to it than that -- and even Korver would concur.

"There's all kinds of explanations," he said. "But the bottom line is we stunk."

Chief among the reasons, more than one with the Jazz suggested, was that they continued what has become a rather terrible trend on the road.

That would be allowing opponents to jump on them from the get-go, as the now 7-33 Thunder did with an early 12-4 advantage and a 27-22 lead after the opening quarter.

"The last thing you want to do is to let teams think they can beat you," veteran forward Matt Harpring said. "You know, this team had no right to think that they can beat us. And we gave them that right at the beginning of the game, and ... the whole game they played with confidence."

"We started the ballgame off, and everything we did was totally on the outside," coach Jerry Sloan added after the Jazz -- minus injured regulars Carlos Boozer (knee), Paul Millsap (knee) and C.J. Miles (ankle) -- were out-rebounded 48-26 and outshot 55 percent to 42 percent. "They got their momentum going, they got baskets, they just outworked us."

Even when the Jazz rallied a bit, Oklahoma City was ready with an answer.

Point guard Deron Williams tied the game with a jumper late in the first half, but after an exchange of misses Thunder rookie point Russell Westbrook drew a foul and hit the two resulting free throws to send Oklahoma City into the break up 50-48.

The Jazz were down by just three when 25-point game-high scorer Williams drove for a runner and hit the free throw that followed to make it 58-55 early in the third quarter, but two freebies from 23-point team-high scorer Jeff Green spurred an 11-0 run that gave the Thunder all the separation they would need.

A Nick Collison free throw at the end of the run made it 69-55 midway through the third, and Oklahoma City led by double digits the rest of the way.

"It's a bad loss," said Williams, who agreed with Harpring's assessment that the Thunder were "a team we should beat."

"We didn't have much energy. I don't know how that happens," he added after the first outing in a three-game road trip that continues Friday night at Memphis. "You know, we had four good games at home where we have energy and we were unselfish and we make plays."

And then this, a game in which the 23-16 Jazz did anything but.

No wonder Sloan, who got just 3-for-12 field shooting from center Mehmet Okur one game after he scored a career-high 43 points and only 1-of-6 shooting from starting swingman Ronnie Brewer, was steaming in a Ford Center hallway.

"We're in a playoff hunt," he said. "I thought we were fighting for our lives.

"I expected more than what I got tonight. I think I have a right to," the Jazz coach added. "Somebody might be upset with me because I expect that. You know what? I really don't care if you're upset with me. They should be upset with themselves, because of the way they participated in the game." E-mail: tbuckley@desnews.com


Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: January 16, 2009

 

 
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