Oklahoma City Thunder: Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook lead OKC past Jazz
Kevin Durant scored 23 points, Russell Westbrook added 19 and the Oklahoma City cruised to a 110-87 victory over the Utah Jazz on Wednesday night.
The mugging took place a month ago.
But Kendrick Perkins and Serge Ibaka still remembered.
Really, how could they forget?
Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap had thoroughly manhandled them both, taking complete control of the middle and helping Utah tear the Thunder's defense to pieces. It resulted in one of Oklahoma City's worst defeats of the season, a 15-point road drubbing in which coach Scott Brooks couldn't even pinpoint a single positive.
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This time, there were plenty.
Against a Jazz team that came to town fighting for its playoff life, the Thunder made things that much tougher on its division rival, exacting a small measure of revenge in a runaway 110-87 victory on Wednesday night inside Chesapeake Energy Arena.
Oklahoma City led for the final 40 minutes, eventually growing the margin to as many as 32 points and bouncing back beautifully from Monday's humbling loss at San Antonio.
Kevin Durant led the way with a game-high 23 points and 10 rebounds, and Russell Westbrook controlled the pace with 19 points, seven rebounds and a game-high nine assists.
But the biggest key was down low, where the big men battled in the paint.
A stellar defensive effort by Perkins and Ibaka didn't just minimize the damage done by Jefferson and Millsap, it abolished almost any and all impact the two could have had.
Utah's inside tandem combined for just 15 points and 14 rebounds. They made just five of 18 shots.
A month ago in Salt Lake City, those same two combined for 41 points and 17 rebounds on 19 of 36 shooting.
“I thought their bigs really did a good job of setting the tone for their team in Utah,” said Brooks. “And I thought our bigs did a great job. Perk…if you had to give a game ball, you'd give it to him.”
Perkins' final stat line: zero points, 0-for-2 from the field, three rebounds, zero assists, four fouls and four turnovers.
“He was a big impact throughout the game, not only on his man but anchoring our defense and not allowing any easy points in the paint in that first three quarters. He's been doing that all year.”
Utah shot just 35 percent and mustered only 28 first-half points, four more than the Thunder's record for fewest points allowed in a half. The Jazz, which entered the game ranked eighth in paint points at 43.1 per game, was held to 32 Wednesday and had just six through halftime and sat on 16 through three quarters.
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