By JOHN COON – Associated Press
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Bojan Bogdanovic scored 27 points, Rudy Gobert added 20 points and 10 rebounds, and the Utah Jazz beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 137-101 Wednesday night.
Jordan Clarkson had a season-high 18 points and 10 assists, and Hassan Whiteside added 15 points, 11 rebounds and five blocks to help the Jazz win their fifth straight home game.
Utah shot 59% from the field and outshot the Thunder 64-38.
Whiteside said giving up a 21-point lead in a loss to Golden State on Saturday ignited a fire under the Jazz that built positive momentum over the team’s last two games.
“It’s unfortunate that we had to lose this game this way, but I think it will help us in the long run,” Whiteside said. “It made us more connected as a team. It kind of showed our flaws.
Jaylen Hoard scored 23 points for Oklahoma City. Isaiah Roby and Jeremiah Robinson-Earl each added 18 points.
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With nine players out due to a host of injuries, the Thunder struggled to keep pace with Utah once the Jazz found their footing.
“You have to have smart offenses against this team because that’s what they do to you,” Oklahoma City coach Mark Daigneault said. “They limit your options and then if you’re a little rushed in there with their big guys then it can be a really long night on the attacking side. That’s why they are such a good defense.
Utah took the lead late in the first quarter on a Bogdanovic layup that sparked a 16-2 run. The Jazz scored baskets on nine straight possessions capped by back-to-back dunks and a Gobert point field goal.
Oklahoma City cut the deficit to two points in the second quarter, with Lindy Waters III making three straight 3-pointers to fuel a 13-2 run. Hoard cut to the rim for a layup to cap the run and cut Utah’s lead to 57-55.
Clarkson responded with back-to-back baskets to prevent Oklahoma City from passing the Jazz. He also set up Gobert baskets on back-to-back possessions to help Utah take a 71-58 halftime lead.
Utah held the Thunder in check by attacking the rim early and often. The Jazz outshot Oklahoma City 60-36 in the paint.
“When the ball moves and the defenses change, you have the opportunity to attack the closeouts,” Utah coach Quin Snyder said. “These quick decisions put you on the rim. That’s what I’ve seen in terms of moving the defence.
The Jazz led in double digits for most of the second half.
After the Thunder cut the deficit to nine on a Robinson-Earl 3-pointer, Utah used a 27-5 run to take a 118-87 lead early in the fourth quarter.
“They’re a really high level, elite team with a lot of experienced guys and they really came through in the second half,” Robinson-Earl said.
Thunder: Robinson-Earl set a career high after sitting out in Oklahoma City’s 98-94 win over Portland the night before. … Zavier Simpson had 11 assists in his second NBA game.
Jazz: Donovan Mitchell (rested), Mike Conley (maintained with a right knee injury) and Royce O’Neale (right thumb pain) were inactive. … Utah scored a season-high 41 points in the first quarter. … Jared Butler had eight second-half assists en route to a career-high 10.
Trent Forrest started for the Jazz after missing three games with a concussion. His return to court did not last long.
Forrest sprained his left foot and went out with 1:39 remaining in the second quarter. He didn’t come back in the second half. Butler started in his place after halftime. Forrest finished with four points and two assists in 12 minutes.
“It’s been tough on him,” Snyder said of the recent injury spree. “He was playing very well tonight. He’s unique in some of the things he can do.
A night after attempting a season-high 43 free throws against Memphis, the Jazz followed with 32 free throw attempts against Oklahoma City. It was the first time since December that Utah had attempted 30 or more free throws in back-to-back competitions.
Thunder: At the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday night.
Jazz: Phoenix host Friday night.
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