Jazz 97 – Thunder 90: Jazz out-hustle the cold-blooded assassins

March 20th, 2012 | by Evan Hall

Oklahoma City Thunder 90 Final
Recap | Box Score
97 Utah Jazz
Paul Millsap, PF 32 MIN | 10-16 FG | 0-2 FT | 5 REB | 2 AST | 20 PTS | +6

Not only was Millsap clutch down the stretch and coolly efficient throughout the game, his defense on Durant in the third quarter was truly impressive. Matching up with Durant at the four is no easy task, and Millsap took it head on.

C.J. Miles, SF 28 MIN | 4-11 FG | 2-2 FT | 5 REB | 2 AST | 10 PTS | +12

Not a great shooting night from the outside, but C.J. attacked the rim and provided some great wing rebounding in Josh Howard’s absence.

Al Jefferson, C 30 MIN | 6-15 FG | 4-4 FT | 6 REB | 4 AST | 16 PTS | +6

The lows were a few shot-clock absorbing possessions that ended with bricks and the highs were the 4 assists.

Devin Harris, PG 30 MIN | 6-10 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 4 AST | 15 PTS | +11

Harris was scorching hot from three in the third quarter and very effective from the field throughout the game.

Gordon Hayward, SG 32 MIN | 3-10 FG | 4-4 FT | 8 REB | 2 AST | 11 PTS | +4

Hayward was all effort on a night when his shot wasn’t falling. His high-flying board-crashing, his free-throw shooting (which has been the best on the team during this winning streak), and his brilliant passing in the fourth quarter were all noteworthy. But HIS DEFENSE! Durant was 6-22 from the field, and 0-7 in the fourth quarter, and much of that was Hayward’s perimeter D.

Jamaal Tinsley, PG 18 MIN | 5-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 3 AST | 11 PTS | -4

Tinsley’s street-ball schooling of Nazr Mohammed was a thing of beauty. Easily the best play of the night. Additionally, the way he runs the offense with the youngsters on the second unit is a joy to watch.

DeMarre Carroll, F 12 MIN | 1-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 2 PTS | -1

Just that he played enough to get on the grades is admirable enough. For once, we could enjoy DeMarre Carroll as a basketball player and not just a tweeter.

Derrick Favors, FC 22 MIN | 1-2 FG | 5-8 FT | 9 REB | 0 AST | 7 PTS | +2

Favors showed all last week what he can do with significant minutes, and tonight he translated that effort even without that playing time. His rebounding and post defense are particularly notable because they are indicative of Favors’ effort.

Alec Burks, G 25 MIN | 1-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 2 PTS | -1

Easily Burks’ worst game since his recent resurgence into the rotation, but he played solid defense and his shots weren’t poorly selected, just off.

Enes Kanter, F 12 MIN | 1-1 FG | 1-2 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 3 PTS | 0

A classic early-season game from Kanter: good rebounding, one field goal attempt, 15 heavy, laborious jogs up and down the court. What’s not to like?

Four Things We Saw

  1. MVP: The entire Jazz roster gets to share MVP honors tonight. Six players scored in double figures, including the resurrected Jamaal Tinsley, who scored 11 points (nine in the first quarter).
  2. Defining Moment: With 8:55 left in the fourth quarter and then Jazz hanging on a six point lead, Jamaal Tinsely dusted off his patented nutmeg dribble on Nazr Mohammed and finished the play with a soft floater. It was a confident move and seemed to inspire the Jazz down the stretch as the Thunder hit big shot after big shot.
  3. Defining Moment: DeMarre Carroll got his first meaningful minutes as a Jazz player and drew the un-enviable task of guarding Kevin Durant. After scoring 23 of the Thunder’s 25 points in the first quarter, the Jazz held the duo scoreless through the rest of the first half.
  4. That was… A playoff preview. This might have been a matchup of the 1-8 seeds in the first round. The crowd was electric and the Jazz played with contagious ferocity, matching the cold-blooded three-point shooting by the Thunder.

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One Comment

  1. Surgeman says:

    I found the analysis to be right on IMHO.

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