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Utah Jazz downs OKC Thunder 97-90

by Darnell Mayberry Published: March 20, 2012
rant had six.

“I just got to be stronger with the ball,” Durant said.

The entire Thunder roster could have been stronger against a hot Jazz team that came in winners of three straight and four of their previous five.

Oklahoma City got beat up on the boards and in the paint, allowing the Jazz to score 17 points off 12 offensive rebounds and rack up 50 paint points, an eye-popping 30 more than the Thunder.

“I thought they did a great job of playing physical basketball,” Brooks said. “They scored a bunch of points in the paint. We gave them two areas that we wanted to not have trouble with: turning the ball over and offensive rebounds.”

Jazz forward Paul Millsap had his way throughout, scoring 20 points on 10-for-16 shooting. Center Al Jefferson returned from a two-game absence due to a death in the family to score 16 points, and Derrick Favors came off the bench to score seven points with a team-high nine rebounds in just 22 minutes.

“That's how Utah wants to play,” said Nick Collison. “They want to throw the ball inside and they want to attack the rim. And we weren't good enough tonight to keep them away from it.”

Suddenly, real concern has to be setting in even for a Thunder team that still sits atop the Western Conference standings and holds a 3½-game lead over second-place San Antonio.

The Thunder has dropped five of 12 since the All-Star break and, frankly, has looked bad doing it. Oklahoma City is just 4-4 in its past eight games.

“We haven't been playing well consistently lately,” Collison said. “We need to turn it around. We need to play better. Hopefully it will start in the next game.”

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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