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Kevin Durant scores 48 points, but Utah downs OKC Thunder

by Darnell Mayberry Published: January 7, 2014


photo - OKC’s Kevin Durant, right, is defended by Utah’s Brandon Rush during first half action in Salt Lake City on Tuesday. Durant scored 48 points in a 112-101 loss. AP Photo
OKC’s Kevin Durant, right, is defended by Utah’s Brandon Rush during first half action in Salt Lake City on Tuesday. Durant scored 48 points in a 112-101 loss. AP Photo

Hayward scored 17 straight points for the Jazz in the final period, making seven of eight shots to single-handedly help Utah stave off a furious rally by the Thunder in the final seven minutes.

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.

Ballgame.

“We didn't come out prepared,” said Jackson.

by Darnell Mayberry
OKC Thunder Senior Reporter
Darnell Mayberry grew up in Langston, Okla. and is now in his third stint in the Sooner state. After a year and a half at Bishop McGuinness High, he finished his prep years in Falls Church, Va., before graduating from Norfolk State University in...
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