Even with Scott Brooks experimenting with 10- and even 11-man rotations, there’s been some question about how to find enough minutes for all five guards. For tonight, anyway, there was a simple answer: give Russell Westbrook the night off. Hey, it’s just the Jazz, right? And even with Trey Burke back, the rebuilding Jazz are going to need some Tinkertoys or something: they fell behind by as much as 37 in the third quarter as the Thunder cruised to what may be their easiest win this season, 95-73.
With Derrick Favors back in the middle, Enes Kanter went back to the bench, where he piled up a tied-for-team-high ten points. (Is that your Telltale Statistic? Good as any, I suspect.) Rudy Gobert, rookie center, also gathered ten. It didn’t help that the Jazz were only 4-18 from outside; worse, they missed 16 of 29 foul shots. With the reserves in, Utah looked almost respectable, winning the fourth quarter 30-20, but starting the quarter down 32, the conclusion was pretty much foregone.
Kevin Durant, like the other starters not needed in that final frame, finished with 19; Serge Ibaka put together a double-double (17 points, 11 boards, a stirring +31); Reggie Jackson, starting at the point, served up seven assists on the way to a 10-point night, but Jeremy Lamb actually ran the floor through most of the fourth quarter, and he rolled up 15 points. Even Perry Jones collected double figures, and how often do you see that?
The schedule, of course, won’t stay this way: the Spurs are coming Wednesday. Westbrook, you may be sure, will be back.