NBA: Thunder blitz Jazz early, roll to 110-94 win
ORLANDO, FLORIDA (FIELD LEVEL MEDIA REUTERS) – Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 19 points as the Oklahoma City Thunder took control early to beat the Utah Jazz 110-94 on Saturday (Aug 1) near Orlando in their first game of the NBA’s restart.
The last time the teams were on the court together was March 11, when Rudy Gobert’s positive test for Covid-19 caused the game to be postponed, and the NBA season – and most other professional sports – was soon shut down.
It took less than eight minutes for the Thunder to build a double-digit lead and Utah never again seriously threatened.
Oklahoma City led by 14 after the first and by 24 at halftime, thanks to strong defence all over the court and efficient offence, going 13 of 17 in the paint in the first half.
The Thunder (41-24) shot nearly 65 per cent from the floor in the first half to take control.
Chris Paul scored 18 points and added seven rebounds and seven assists. Paul was 5 of 6 from the field in the first half. Steven Adams had 16 points and 11 rebounds.
The Thunder scored 25 points off Utah turnovers.
Oklahoma City extended its winning streak to four after winning their last three games before the shutdown.
The Jazz shot just 39.1 per cent from the floor and 8 of 31 from behind the 3-point line.
Utah (42-24) was led by Donovan Mitchell’s 13 points, though Mitchell was just 5 of 15 from the floor.
Andre Roberson came into the game midway through the second quarter for his first regular-season NBA appearance since Jan 27, 2018, when he suffered a ruptured patellar tendon.
Roberson had suffered a series of setbacks as he worked toward return, including before the season, but the shutdown allowed him time to get back.
Roberson played a little more than five minutes, all in the second quarter, with a rebound and a block.
Shooting is all about that unwavering focus, a sort of tunnel vision to excel...