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Everything we’ve been waiting for for the past three months and more. That’s it. That’s the game recap. Ok fine, I’ll relive all the glory one more time.
Just like we expected the Thunder to do on March 11th, the Thunder beat the Jazz, but I think most of us were expecting it to at least be close. From wire to wire, the Thunder led the Utah Jazz extending their lead to as much as 29 points. Unfortunately, due to the Jazz beating the Pelicans on Thursday and the Rockets beating the Mavericks last night, the fourth seed wasn’t on the line for the Thunder this time BUT that didn’t stop the Thunder from playing like a fourth-seeded team (actually better even than that).
The Jazz were without Bojan Bogdanovic, a large part of their offense no doubt, but that was the least of their problems. Throughout the game, their offense was stagnant and was no match for the Thunder’s top-to-bottom lockdown defense. The Thunder held the Jazz to just 15 points in the first quarter (the lowest scoring opponent quarter this season, per the Thunder). Additionally, Dort and Adams did a terrific job guarding Rudy Gobert and made him work for every shot around the rim.
Overall, the Thunder looked great. There were concerns after the last two scrimmages that the Thunder’s shooting could be rusty, but there were no signs of rust today. The Thunder shot 39% from distance and 53% from the field. Six players (Paul, Gilgeous-Alexander, Gallinari, Schroder, Adams, and Bazley) scored in double figures. For most of the first half, it looked the Thunder could have got any shot they wanted.
Altogether, it was an excellent first showing for the Thunder. The Thunder move back up to the 5th seed and again are one game behind the Utah Jazz for the 4th seed. Next up, the Thunder face the Denver Nuggets (3rd seed in the Western Conference) on Monday. The Nuggets lost to the Miami Heat (125-105) on Saturday, but Jamal Murray, Gary Harris, and Will Barton did not play.