Among the most unheard-of things you ever heard of: the Thunder, generally regarded as the worst 3-point shooters in the league, hit their first 12 treys tonight. This could not possibly last, and of course it didn’t; they wound up at 15-22. But that was hardly the worst thing that happened to OKC.
The Jazz, who trailed most of the night, came up with a 18-2 run in the fourth quarter, which got them a three-point lead inside the three-minute mark. “Crumbling at both ends of the floor,” observed radio guy Matt Pinto, and that describes the Thunder well enough during that protracted collapse. Once again, Russell Westbrook had to pull off something, well, Westbrookian to save the day. With 15 seconds left, the Thunder, pretty much all Westbrook at this point, went up 108-106, and the Jazz spent 13 of them trying to get off a shot. Jerami Grant took the ball away, was immediately fouled, and nailed one of two free throws. Utah had one possession left in the final 1.1 seconds, which they used to get off a buzzer-beater; unfortunately, it failed to reach the net. Oklahoma City 109, Utah 106, as the Thunder go up 2-1 in the season series and pulled to within two games of the Jazz.
Triple-double, you ask? But of course: Westbrook’s line was 43-11-10. And they needed every last one of those points, since Enes Kanter had a fairly prosaic night (15 points) and Victor Oladipo is still missing in action. Still, Bulls expat Doug McDermott was good for 16, and starting in place of the Big V was Alex Abrines, who took only four shots, three of then treys, and made them all.
As you might expect, Utah had six players in double figures, including four of five starters. Gordon Hayward had a team-high 19, and Rudy Gobert put together a 13-10 double-double. Telltale Statistic: The Jazz put up 93 shots, the Thunder only 76.
OKC is now even with Memphis at 35-25, but the Thunder, for now, own the tiebreaker for sixth. There now follows a three-game road trip, to Portland, Phoenix and Dallas. Norris Cole will be arriving shortly.