Thunder coach Scott Brooks sung the praises of Utah's rebounding before Friday night's 106-94 victory over the Jazz at Chesapeake Energy Arena, and the visitors immediately proved him right in the first quarter by outrebounding OKC 15-8.
Thereafter, the Thunder managed to outrebound one of the league's most physical front lines that features Al Jefferson (10.6 rpg), Paul Millsap (8.4) and Derrick Favors (7.8).
Utah entered the game second in the NBA in offensive rebounds at 13.8 per game and will bump that average up even higher after gathering an astounding 21 offensive boards against OKC. The Jazz actually had more offensive rebounds than defensive (19).
The Thunder outrebounded Utah 47-40 and more good news came in the fact the Jazz was unable to convert, scoring just 16 second-chance points while going 6 for 18 from the field.
OKC had 16 offensive rebounds and also had 16 second-chance points, going 8 for 13 from the floor.
HIT THE ROAD
Now 13-4 overall, the Thunder has won four straight and embarked on a two-game road trip to New Orleans and Brooklyn after Friday's contest.
“Definitely a good (three-game) home stand leading to the road,” said Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook, who did a mouthful against Utah with 23 points, 13 rebounds, eight assists, eight turnovers and seven steals. “We're playing good basketball right now and everybody's moving the ball, feeling good and I hope we continue it.”
OKC also cooled the Jazz. After starting the season 1-3, Utah came in having won two straight, five of six and seven of 10. The Jazz finishes a three-game road trip at Houston on Saturday night.
PLENTY OF FUEL
An energetic Westbrook was at full-speed and played 39:06 in Friday's contest, with a back-to-back awaiting in New Orleans less than 24 hours later.
Asked if he saved anything in his tank, Westbrook smiled and said: “Oh, I've always got something in the tank. I could run all night, man. If you say you're tired, then you'll be tired. But if you just keep going, then you'll be all right. That's just how I think. I think being tired is just a mind thing.”
NBA FAN NIGHT
NBA TV's Fan Night will feature the Thunder visiting the Brooklyn Nets on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. The weekly Fan Night selection is based on fan voting via NBA.com, the NBA Facebook page, NBA TV's Facebook page, Yahoo.com, NBA.com mobile web, mobile GameTime App and Twitter.
OKC had a season-high 14 blocked shots and was led by league-leader Serge Ibaka with seven. Kevin Durant had four and Kendrick Perkins had three. … The Thunder led the NBA in free-throw shooting coming into Friday's game at 84.5 percent, but converted just 72.7 percent (24 for 33) against the Jazz and has shot 41 for 55 (. 745) from the line its last two games. … A sweet and innocent OKC team tied for last in the league in technical fouls during its first year of existence with 31 in 2008-09. The Thunder now ranks third (19) in technical fouls behind the Los Angeles Clippers (24) and Phoenix (20). Westbrook is the individual leader, picking up his fourth on Friday. … Favors only played 9:19 after suffering a strained right arch. Utah starting forward Marvin Williams did not play because of a concussion.
Utah coach Tyrone Corbin on whether he suffered a concussion as a player: “I probably did, I just didn't know it. I may be concussed now.”
BY JOHN ROHDE