No. 6 Thunder @ No. 4 Jazz
The 2009-2010 season was most memorable for how it ended as the late Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers captured the NBA title in a 4-3 series over the Boston Celtics. This would be the final (for now) NBA title for the Lakers, 16 total, and the final title Bryant would win before his retirement in 2016.
Thunder fans may recall the 2009-10 season seeing James Harden, a former NBA MVP, coming off the bench along with Serge Ibaka, while Jeff Green was a massive asset to Kevin Durant and 21-year-old Russell Westbrook playing in only his second year in the league.
The Jazz came in shorthanded with power forward Andrei Kirilenko was out with a left calf muscle injury. Kirilenko was the Jazz’s best defender, and his absence forced Jerry Sloan to call upon younger guys such as Wesley Matthews and C.J. Miles.
The Thunder enter this matchup riding a four-game winning streak, while the Jazz were coming off a four-day break following a loss to the Lakers in Los Angeles 106-92. 19,911 fans piled into EnergySoultions Arena, now known as the Vivant Smart Home Arena, and Utah’s Mehmet Okur took center court to tip-off against OKC’s Jeff Green.
- Jeff Green F
- Kevin Durant F
- Russell Westbrook G
- Thabo Sefolosha G
- Nenad Krstić C
- J. Miles F
- Carlos Boozer F
- Deron Williams G
- Wesley Matthews G
- Mehmet Okur C
The Jazz control the tip as they start this game 0-3 against the Thunder this season. Boozer generates the first turnover of the game putting the ball into the Thunder’s hands, and Jeff Green goes full force into the paint for the Thunder’s first points of the game.
Kevin Durant delivered for OKC playing all 12 minutes of the first quarter with nine points shooting 4-7 from the floor. Westbrook had seven points of his own making vital appearances at the charity stripe, and backup point guard Eric Maynor finished out the quarter with two points of his own.
Okur came up big for the Jazz with nine points on 3-4 shooting as Wesley Matthews played a complete quarter himself dishing out six points and forcing two turnovers on strong defensive possessions.
Jazz leads 32-29.
The Thunder start off rocky on offense turning the ball over three times in the first three minutes of the quarter, but James Harden comes off the bench early for some crucial minutes generating hot plays around the rim to keep the Thunder clawing back as Utah gets hot on offense led by Okur.
OKC’s bench came out firing for this matchup outscoring the Jazz bench 18-7 early behind Harden’s crafty shot selections and Serge Ibaka’s 3-3 shooting collecting eight points and four boards going into halftime.
Deron Williams had another massive quarter for the Jazz draining 11 points in quarter two where he went 6-6 from the free throw line and had a total of 19 points and five assists heading to the locker room at the half.
Kevin Durant led all scoring with 20 points on 6-11 shooting and a perfect showing at the free throw line (6-6) going into halftime, while Russell Westbrook followed with 16, and Ibaka had eight. Deron Williams led the Jazz with 19 on 6-10 shooting as Okur cooked the first half with 18 of his own.
Thunder leads 65-63 at halftime.
Jerry Sloan put his guys to the test with zero intentions of letting the Thunder pull themselves back into the game. Carlos Boozer, Deron Williams, and Wesley Matthews powered through a complete quarter combining for 23 points, while Kevin Durant felt the pressure of this trio shooting only 2-6 for six points.
Nenad Krstić came up big for OKC starting the quarter with a nice baseline floater making him 4-4 in the game. He’d finish Q3 with six points on 3-4 shooting grabbing three boards only to be replaced by Nick Collison. Collison would wrap up quarter three with five points on perfect shooting from the floor.
The third quarter set up mass chaos for quarter four as the Jazz outscored the Thunder 34-29, and both Jerry Sloan and Scott Brooks knew this would be a fight to the end – Maybe even beyond that.
Jazz lead 97-94.
Kevin Durant showcases his athleticism in the fourth putting up nine shots, six of which were from downtown, going 5-9 in the quarter coming up big with 17 total at the end of regulation. The power duo of Durant and Westbrook had Jazz fans on the edge of their seats with Russ getting two vital free throws toward the end enhancing the Thunder’s chances of success.
Thabo Sefolosha, with 17.1 seconds on the clock and the Thunder down 129-126, gets it in to Westbrook who finds a tightly-guarded Durant on the perimeter. Durant sets up Jeff Green at the top of the arc who sinks a three over Carlos Boozer, and the arena goes silent.
TIE GAME. 08.3 on the clock. The Jazz have minimal time to put together a plan that could escalate them to the No. 2 spot in the West, but a loss would drop them down to No. 5.
All eyes were on Deron Williams as he gets a good look for a jumpshot and 05.3 on the clock. The ball rims out with a strong urge back in from Wesley Matthews, but the Thunder prevails, and the game goes into overtime.
END OF REGULATION: Jazz 129, Thunder 129
The Thunder had a 1-3 record in overtime games so far, and the only win they had been able to capture in OT was against the New York Knicks in Madison Square Garden on Feb. 20 – A game where Kevin Durant’s seven points helped claim victory in the end.
The Jazz faced adversity early as Paul Millsap, the only player to shoot a perfect 4-4 in the game, picks up his sixth foul sending him to the bench. Mehmet Okur comes in to take his place and comes up empty for the Jazz offensively.
Rookie James Harden splits a pair of free throws to put the Thunder up by one, but his four points at the final buzzer were the most the Thunder could muster up in overtime with KD, Westbrook and Green having two a piece.
Jeff Green comes up clutch for OKC with 05.0 left on the clock putting the Thunder up 139-138. Okur’s defense on Green was strong and exactly how Jerry Sloan had drawn it up, but Green powered to the rim for his 13th point of the game.
It was on now. Five seconds remaining and the 2nd seed in sight, the Jazz call on Deron Williams to get the job done. C.J. Miles inbounds the ball, and Williams pulls up just above the free throw line to sink the game-winning shot over Harden and Green.
Jazz wins in OT 140-139.
- Kevin Durant: 25 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists
- Jeff Green: 13 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals
- Russell Westbrook: 11 points, 4 rebounds, 6 assists, 1 block
- Carlos Boozer: 19 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists
- Deron Williams: 23 points, 2 rebounds, 5 assists
- C.J. Miles: 16 points, 1 rebound, 3 assists, 1 block
The Utah Jazz would finish the season as the No. 5 seed at 53-29 and go on to defeat the Denver Nuggets 4-2 in the first round of the NBA Playoffs only to get swept 4-0 by the Los Angeles Lakers in round two.
The Thunder finish the season as the No. 8 seed at 50-32 to fall to the Lakers 4-2 for a first-round exit from the playoffs.