Durant, Thunder shock JazzJan 15, 2009 - 5:33 AM OKLAHOMA CITY (Ticker) -- Of all the Oklahoma City Thunder's victories this season, this one was the most surprising.
Kevin Durant led six players in double figures with 23 points to lead the Thunder to their first win against a team with a winning record, as they stunned the Utah Jazz with a 114-93 rout on Wednesday.
Oklahoma City continued its recently improved play, moving to a respectable 4-4 over its last eight games.
"We beat a good team tonight. I'm proud of our guys," Thunder interim coach Scott Brooks said. "We knew Utah was a tough team that was going to challenge us and be physical. I challenged the guys before the game to not shy away from being physical part of the game. Attack it, challenge it and embrace it; we did and that's why we won the game."
The Thunder took control with an offensive flurry in the third quarter, as Durant and Jeff Green each connected from the arc as part of an 11-0 run midway through the period. The Jazz tried to climb back in it with their second unit early in the fourth, but the Thunder would have none of it.
After Matt Harpring's free throw cut the deficit to 86-74 at the 10:53 mark, Durant answered with a 21-footer with Kyle Korver in his face, then Earl Watson drove the lane and completed a three-point play to push the lead back to 16.
"We wanted to come out and control the home court," Durant said. "We wanted to pay them back for the last time we played them. They beat us pretty bad, so we felt like we owed them. We seem like we are a different team than the last time we played them.
"We just wanted to come out and play hard on the defensive end, and I think we did that tonight."
Oklahoma City did its worst damage on the boards, taking full advantage of a 48-26 rebounding edge as the team engineered fast break after fast break against a Utah squad that appeared slow and lifeless against a presumably inferior opponent.
"It's just a battle trying to get to rebounds. Everyone has to play their part," Green said. "Everyone seems to be buying into diving for loose balls and doing that extra little thing to get the job done."
The Jazz had no presence underneath whatsoever - due in part to the absence of third-year forward Paul Millsap, who missed his second straight game with a bruised right knee.
Still, starting forwards Andrei Kirilenko and Ronnie Brewer combined to grab just three rebounds all night - an unacceptable number for a coach like Utah's Jerry Sloan.
"It doesn't make a difference if we have two or three guys out, you still have to play hard," Sloan said. "(They) put us out of position for rebounds and left us taking shots we really didn't need to be taking. ... They killed us on the boards. Flat-out killed us."
Then again, that wasn't the only problem for the Jazz. After Mehmet Okur set a new career high with 43 points in Monday's win over Indiana, the Turkish center came crashing back down to earth - hard - as he clumsily tried to push the ball into the paint for a series of jumpers that came up well short.
"To start the game, I was too far out on the perimeter, and my shots weren't falling," Okur said. "In the second half, I tried to be the aggressor and get to the free-throw line, but it just didn't work for me."
The follow-up for his career night was a grand total of nine points on 3-of-12 shooting.
"I'm not frustrated, it's just basketball," Sloan said. "Mehmet scores 43 the other night, tonight he couldn't get going. It's the law of averages. That's just basketball. I'm not going to jump off any buildings over it."
Korver got hot in the second quarter, hitting four of his first five shots, but went cold for the rest of the night. That didn't stop him from shooting, as he repeatedly curled around screens and roamed around the 3-point arc but came up with all iron.
Poor shot selection and wildly executed offense was a problem all night for the Jazz, who shot just 42 percent (35-of-83).
Deron Williams had 25 points and six assists while turning the ball over just once for Utah and was visibly frustrated in the fourth quarter as he just began to take control offensively to try to get the team back in it.
But it was too little, too late, as the Jazz suffered the embarrassing loss and fell to 7-12 away from home.
"Bad loss, it's a bad loss. Every time you put the jersey on you should come to play," Williams said. "We just didn't have much energy. I don't know how it happens. We had four great games at home where we had energy, were unselfish, made plays.
"But for whatever reason, I don't know if we think when we get on the road we feel we can't win or what it is. We just don't have that intensity."
The Thunder connected at an astonishing 55-percent clip (39-of-71). Westbrook posted 22 points and seven assists, while Green added 21 and nine rebounds.
"We're still learning," Green said. "The start of the year was real rough for us. Every game we have to learn something, and the last 15 games or so we have been really competitive. We are to a point where we are turning that corner, getting the stops we need and learning to play as a team."
OKLAHOMA CITY 114 FINAL
Jan 14 10:23 PM
OKLAHOMA CITY 86 END, 3RD QTR
Jan 14 9:51 PM
OKLAHOMA CITY 50 HALFTIME
Jan 14 9:06 PM
OKLAHOMA CITY 27 END, 1ST QTR
Jan 14 8:38 PM
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