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OKC Thunder turns it around to beat Utah Jazz

Coming off a loss to the Knicks, the Thunder improved in three key areas to stop the Jazz on the road.
by Darnell Mayberry Published: April 9, 2013

Westbrook's steal was the final of Utah's 17 turnovers, which led to 16 Thunder points. It was one of a trio of areas in which the Thunder looked night-and-day different than it did against the Knicks on Sunday, when OKC forced a season-low six turnovers.

Two nights after allowing 19 offensive rebounds, the Thunder yielded only six to a Jazz team that has bullied it on the boards plenty in the past. Thanks to that rebounding effort, the Thunder surrendered just seven second-chance points.

Jazz big men Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap combined for 17 rebounds and only two on the offensive end. Given how ineffective that tandem was despite playing 32 and 38 minutes, respectively, the Jazz were powerless to keep up with the Thunder.

More impressively, the Thunder limited Millsap and Jefferson to 23 points on 24 shots.

“We did a good job of doing our work early and making their catches further out,” Collison said. “The further out they catch it, the more we can get (help) from the perimeter player. And our guards were doing a good job of being active and making them guess. They couldn't just get into their move. And then the biggest thing is we just kept them off the board. That's what we've struggled with against them in the past.”

After allowing the Knicks to knock down 15 3-pointers Sunday, the Thunder shut off the Jazz's perimeter attack and limited Utah to 7-for-25 shooting from 3-point range. Meanwhile, guard Thabo Sefolosha drained four 3s by himself for the Thunder.

Nothing illustrated the Thunder's defensive turnaround quite like scoring by quarter. New York scored at least 29 points in all three periods Sunday. On this night, Utah scored more than 19 points in only one quarter.

“We had great intensity,” Brooks said. “We came out with the mindset of getting stops every time down the court, and we did that.”

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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