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Utah Jazz downs OKC Thunder 97-90

by Darnell Mayberry Published: March 20, 2012
SALT LAKE CITY — Russell Westbrook had the ball in his hands with a chance to cut the Thunder's deficit to two points in the final 50 seconds.

He made a move, dashing to his left before passing off to Serge Ibaka, who stood all alone on the left baseline after Westbrook had drawn the defense.

Without hesitation, Ibaka fired away.

Under almost any other circumstance, it would have been good play and a good shot. But this time, the game was on the line. And when Ibaka missed the 15-footer, it told the story of the Thunder's 97-90 loss at Utah on Tuesday night inside EnergySolutions Arena.

Down five inside the final minute, the Thunder couldn't come up with something better than deferring to its fourth option.

It characterized just how stagnant the Thunder's offense was down the stretch.

Oklahoma City fell to 34-12 after a woeful fourth quarter in which the Thunder made just 6 of 21 shots (28.6 percent) and turned the ball over five times to all but give the game to the Jazz.

“They did a good job of trapping our pick-and-rolls,” said Thunder coach Scott Brooks of Utah's defense. “When we're at our best, our pick-and-roll game is really good and they did a good job of stopping our pick-and-roll game and trapping it and forcing us to go to the weak side.”

And then the Thunder missed shots.

Kevin Durant was scoreless in the fourth quarter, missing all seven of his shot attempts. Russell Westbrook, meanwhile, was curiously passive, attempting just two shots. Both were 3-pointers, and one was a desperation attempt at the end of the shot clock.

“I just couldn't make a shot,” Durant said. “I put that on myself. I had a few good looks. Maybe I should have pulled up. When you go to the rim and you get charges, it messes with you a little bit and it messed with me tonight.”

Durant also took the blame for the Thunder's turnovers, which totaled 20 on the night and led to 18 Jazz points.

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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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