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Oklahoma City Thunder: OKC cranks up the defense, cruises past Utah Jazz

Kevin Durant scored 19 points and Serge Ibaka had 17 points and 11 rebounds to help Oklahoma City extend its best season-opening start at home with a 95-73 win over the struggling Utah Jazz on Sunday night.
by Anthony Slater Published: November 24, 2013

Kevin Durant sat out the final 14 minutes.

Serge Ibaka rested the whole fourth quarter.

Russell Westbrook took the entire night off.

The 1-14 Utah Jazz came to town on Sunday night, looking every bit the part, and the Thunder acted accordingly, sprinting out to an early cushion and cruising to an easy 95-73 win at Chesapeake Energy Arena.

A crucial three-game stretch — against the Spurs, Warriors and Wolves — awaits OKC in the next week. And a date with the hapless Jazz served as the perfect primer.

“(The rest) is really important,” said Thabo Sefolosha, another Thunder starter who sat out a majority of the fourth. “It's great.”

From the tip, the Thunder cranked up the defense, holding the Jazz to 43 points through three quarters and 39 percent shooting for the game.

But a majority of Utah's abysmal shooting can be pinned squarely on the offensively inept Jazz.

The worst scoring offense in the league went 4-of-18 from 3-point territory, with plenty of wide-open looks, and 13-of-29 from the free throw line, a 44 percent clip that would make Shaquille O'Neal laugh.

“When you're not scoring it puts a lot of pressure on your defense to stop a team to keep the game close,” Jazz forward Marvin Williams said. “Unfortunately for us, the team we had to stop was OKC.”

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