Rested Thunder throttle weary Jazz 111-85
OKLAHOMA CITY – James Harden scored 22 points, Kevin Durant added 21 and the Oklahoma City Thunder beat Utah 111-85 on Tuesday night for their second win against the Jazz in five days.
In between, NBA-leading Oklahoma City got three days off. Utah embarked on its only back-to-back-to-back set of the season and finished it with two straight losses.
The well-rested Thunder never trailed and led by at least 12 throughout the second half on their way to an eighth straight win at the Chesapeake Energy Arena, extending the team's longest home winning streak since moving from Seattle in 2008.
Russell Westbrook chipped in 16 points for Oklahoma City, and Serge Ibaka also scored 16 to go with 10 rebounds and six blocks.
Al Jefferson led the Jazz with 15 points and rookie Derrick Favors scored 13.
Utah missed a window of opportunity to cut into a 16-point lead when Westbrook headed to the bench after picking up his fourth foul — and a technical, too — with 8:03 left in the third quarter.
Counterpart Devin Harris picked up his fifth foul 40 seconds later and also came out, and the Thunder ended up adding to their lead without their All-Star point guard. Durant drove for a right-handed slam to start a spurt of seven straight Oklahoma City points, and Harden nailed a 3-pointer from the right side to make it 77-56 with 1:46 remaining in the third.
Durant and Westbrook made brief appearances in the fourth quarter, and the starters were pulled with a little under 4 minutes remaining and the Thunder leading 101-76.
Oklahoma City won 101-87 on Friday night in Salt Lake City before getting three days off in a row for the first time all season, a reward after finishing a five-game road trip and a stretch with eight of nine away from home.
Meanwhile, the Jazz were forced to play three straight road games on consecutive nights.
It showed. Utah allowed Oklahoma City to shoot 55 percent, made only 36 percent of its own shots and suffered its most lopsided defeat of the season.
The weary Jazz missed 15 of their first 16 shots while falling behind 16-4, with Durant completing a string of 10 straight points by hitting a free throw.
Jefferson finally hit a series of shots to get Utah's offense going, and the Jazz climbed back within 31-28 after Enes Kanter's three-point play off of an offensive rebound about 4 minutes into the second quarter.
Harden drove for a layup and hit a 3-pointer as Oklahoma City reeled off the next nine points, and the Thunder built the lead as big as 51-35 when Durant followed a post-up move with a pair of free throws.
It was never close again.
Notes: After Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks mentioned him as a candidate to be the NBA's Most Improved Player this season, Utah's Gordon Hayward missed all six of his shots and committed three turnovers in 17 scoreless minutes. ... Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said he needs to re-think his rotation to find more playing time for first-round pick Alec Burks, who didn't play during a recent four-game stretch and then got to the foul line 10 times in a loss at New Orleans on Monday. "That's going to be a good thing for us going forward, and we we're going to need it from him. That's why I think he deserves more time on the floor," Corbin said. ... Thunder G Thabo Sefolosha missed his ninth straight game with a sore right foot. Daequan Cook started in his place for the seventh straight time.