Thunder 101 – Jazz 87

February 11th, 2012 | by Evan Hall
Oklahoma City Thunder 101 Final

Recap | Box Score

87 Utah Jazz
Paul Millsap, PF

34 MIN | 4-15 FG | 2-2 FT | 9 REB | 4 AST | 10 PTS | -9

The two things you can almost always count on from Millsap are efficient shooting and good decision-making. Tonight, he had neither. It’s pitiable that on his birthday, Millsap may have played his worst game of the season. Still, he avoids an “F” for his rebounding, which was solid.

Gordon Hayward, SG

33 MIN | 6-10 FG | 1-2 FT | 2 REB | 4 AST | 13 PTS | -6

Hayward was frequently the only Jazz player attacking the basket. It reaped nice rewards, and he shot a high percentage from the floor. Also, his defense on Durant was solid. Most of all, you have to appreciate that Gordon is almost always bringing energy to an occasionally lifeless backcourt.

Al Jefferson, C

34 MIN | 9-18 FG | 2-3 FT | 8 REB | 4 AST | 20 PTS | -9

There’s not really anything bad to say about Jefferson’s performance tonight. He provided consistent scoring and had a few nice passes. By the second half, he did look tired. We’re not seeing the same defensive tenacity from our bigs–especially Jefferson–that had so pleasantly surprised us during the beginning of the season. Hopefully this is only a slump and not a regression to the mean.

Raja Bell, SG

30 MIN | 4-5 FG | 2-2 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 13 PTS | -7

He carried the offense in the first quarter with three threes and finished with a quality shooting night. Raja is the Jazz’s only three-point threat at this point, but he’s carrying that burden well.

Devin Harris, PG

28 MIN | 5-7 FG | 1-2 FT | 0 REB | 7 AST | 11 PTS | -6

Devin Harris’s recent defensive woes have had a disastrous impact on the team’s overall defense. In the past three games, Russell Westbrook, Darren Collison, and Jeremy Lin (Linsanity!) have had fantastic scoring games against Harris’s defense. His assists were up this game, but his poor perimeter defense negates much of his offensive production. There may be a lot of reasons for the disparity in free throw attempts (32 for the Thunder and just 13 for the Jazz), but one of them has to be Harris’s swinging door defense.

Earl Watson, PG

20 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 6 AST | 0 PTS | -8

Earl Watson seems to inherently understand just which plays he can make to get the crowd involved. Earl Watson has to be the king of momentum plays. His alley-oops to C.J. were only worth four points, but baskets like that energize the crowd and his teammates. Unfortunately, there wasn’t much of that in the second half.

C.J. Miles, SF

19 MIN | 4-9 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 8 PTS | -7

When C.J. Miles is angrily flying to the rim, he fills an important role on this team, and it’s easier to forgive some of his more questionable shot choices. C.J. has always had elite athleticism, so it was refreshing to see him take off for alley-oop after alley-oop from Earl Watson.

Derrick Favors, FC

14 MIN | 3-6 FG | 0-2 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 6 PTS | -5

This biggest complaint here was Favors’ lack of energy on the boards. For a player of Favors’ athleticism and length, it’s almost inconceivable that he could finish a game with no rebounds. Still, he’s developing a powerful post game and a soft touch. Here’s to hoping some of Kanter’s enthusiasm for rebounding will rub off on him.

Enes Kanter, F

14 MIN | 2-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 0 AST | 4 PTS | -5

The love affair continues. There were times, usually when Collison was guarding him, that Kanter looked truly dominant. He still looks uncomfortable with the ball, and he brings the ball down again on put backs when he should keep it up, but his progress is consistent. It’s hard to see a scenario in which Kanter isn’t averaging a double-double within three years (which is amazing; he’s only 19).

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