Noticeably absent from the Thunder's fourth-quarter lineup was guard Thabo Sefolosha. He suffered an undisclosed injury to a finger on his left hand early in the third quarter and did not play in the final frame. Though Sefolosha also struggled to defend Hayward early, Brooks opted for Fisher on Hayward early in the final period before giving Lamb the bulk of the duty and going with Jones on the fourth-year forward in the final three minutes.
“He made a few shots,” said Durant. “In the third quarter, he got whatever he wanted and his movement, he was cutting and getting everybody involved and that opened it up for him. In the fourth quarter, he made two huge 3s when we cut it to five. But that started from the first quarter.”
Utah put up 30 points in the opening period, splashing in 12 of 17 shots (70.6 percent). By halftime, the Jazz held a 59-47 lead.
Utah entered the game ranked last in first-half scoring, averaging just 44.6 points.
Things got worse before they got better.
Oklahoma City's deficit grew to be as large as 24 points in the third period and still stood at 16 entering the final period despite Durant's 15 points in the quarter.
The Thunder got within 99-94 on a pair of fouls shots by Durant with 4:51 to play. But Hayward lost Nick Collison on the right wing and splashed in a 3-pointer, and after another two free throws by Durant, Hayward shook Lamb with a gorgeous jab step that left him wide open to drain another 3, this time from the left wing.
He followed that with a jumper on Fisher.
It pushed the Jazz's lead back to 11 with 2:34 remaining.
“We didn't come out prepared,” said Jackson.