SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - Russell Westbrook made the big plays for the Oklahoma City Thunder most of the night. At the end, that’s when Kevin Durant took over.
Durant scored 21 points Friday, including the last 11 for the Thunder in a 94-90 win over the Utah Jazz.
Oklahoma City matched a season high with its fourth straight win.
Durant hit a tiebreaking 3 with 1:06 left, then made two free throws with two seconds left to seal it. No one else scored for the Thunder in the final six minutes.
“I didn’t feel like I was in a little slump, I just felt like if I hit one shot, I’m hot,” Durant said.
“And I was able to make one, it was a crazy, off-balanced shot. But once I saw it go through the rim I was like, ‘OK, let’s go, it is time to get it going,’” he said.
Durant also got eight rebounds.
“I don’t know how you can argue with our defense tonight,” Jazz coach Quin Snyder said. “The shots (Durant) hit down the stretch were remarkable. He’s hitting fadeaways off one foot.”
“He’s a great player. There’s no way I’m going to criticize the way we played defense down the stretch. We were tuned in,” he said. “He made a shot. He made a couple shots. I don’t know what to say about that. … A great player. A Hall of Fame player. That’s what he does.”
Westbrook had 18 points in the first half and finished with 24. He had seven rebounds and seven assists.
Gordon Hayward led the Jazz with 19 points and eight rebounds. Utah used a 16-4 run to tie it at 87, but didn’t take the lead.
The Thunder began the game with a 9-0 run. Durant had an alley-oop from Westbrook and a transition dunk.
Westbrook scored 11 straight Thunder points in the first quarter and Oklahoma City led 27-15 after the opening period.
Alec Burks and Derrick Favors helped the Jazz get within eight points by halftime. The Thunder quickly increased their lead to 14 in the third quarter.
“I think we are sharing the basketball and playing offensively very unselfishly,” Thunder coach Billy Donovan said. “I think we are getting better defensively.”
“I don’t think on either end of the floor we are exactly where we want to be, but I think we are moving in a positive direction from that standpoint,” he said.
Thunder: The Thunder are 12-5 with Durant in the lineup this season. … Former Jazz center Enes Kanter was booed throughout the game. He finished with 11 points and six rebounds off the bench. … Oklahoma City held the Jazz to 8 for 28 shooting from 3-point range.
Jazz: Joe Ingles has seen his minutes decrease the last two games. He played 11 seconds Friday. … The Jazz have yet to win three consecutive games this season. … Utah’s 15 first-quarter points matched a season low. … Trevor Booker missed a free throw with the game tied at 87 that would have given the Jazz their first lead.
STUCK IN THE MUD
Jazz guard Rodney Hood remains stuck in his slump. He failed to score double figures for the fourth time in five games with nine points on 4 for 12 shooting. He failed to reach double figures in just three of his first 15 games played. “It’s like early in the year we talked about Gordon not making shots like he is now,” Snyder said. “He’s in his second year and in a different role from last year. He doesn’t need to put pressure on himself. We believe in him. We’ve seen him shoot the ball and have big nights. It’s a matter of time before that happens.”
The Thunder host the Jazz on Sunday.
Copyright © 2021 The Washington Times, LLC.