SALT LAKE CITY — Believe it or not, the two big men that bullied the Thunder all night Tuesday are the same two that are widely believed to be on the trading block.
While seemingly everyone in the Sooner State continues to salivate over a low-post scorer, the Utah Jazz could quietly be searching for a way to ship out at least one of the two that torched the Thunder in a thorough 109-94 thumping inside Energy Solutions Arena.
Al Jefferson scored a team-high 23 points, and Paul Millsap added 18 points, 10 rebounds and six assists to help the Jazz snap the Thunder's four-game winning streak and show that all still is not right on the road for OKC.
“They kicked our (rear),” said Thunder forward Kevin Durant, who scored a game-high 33 points.
Jefferson and Millsap combined for 17 rebounds, two more than the Thunder's starting five had all night. Nine of those rebounds by Utah's big man tandem came on the offensive end, allowing the Jazz to outscore the Thunder 18-4 in second-chance points.
“They did what they do, and we didn't fight back enough to give it a game,” said Thunder coach Scott Brooks.
OKC strolled into Utah riding high, having won its previous four games by an average of 25.3 points while scoring at a 113.8-point clip. In those contests, the team defense was as dialed in as it's been all year, and ball movement and ball security led to balanced scoring and incredible offensive efficiency.
That must have all gotten misplaced somewhere between Phoenix and Utah.
The Thunder turned the ball over 20 times — including four in the first four minutes — and watched the giveaways turn into 28 Jazz points. After recording no more than 14 turnovers in the previous four games, the Thunder had 14 at halftime Tuesday. Oklahoma City also had not allowed more than 10 offensive rebounds in any of the previous four contests. The Jazz had 11 by halftime before finishing with 16.
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