Thunder Lacks Effort in Game 3 Loss in Utah

The Oklahoma City Thunder fell to the Utah Jazz in Game 3 in Salt Lake City on Saturday night 115-102. The loss gives Utah a 2-1 series lead with Game 4 on Monday also to be played in Salt Lake City.

Through the first four minutes of the game, the Thunder and Jazz stuck close, matching each other point for point, but Utah managed to quickly pull away and take an 18-10 lead with 6:20 left in the first quarter. Over the next two minutes, Oklahoma City tied the game up at 20-20 before taking the lead for the remainder of the quarter. The Thunder ended the first period on an 18-2 run to lead 30-22.

The Thunder extended the lead to double digits at 39-28 just a little over two minutes into the second quarter, and with 5:21 to go in the first half, Oklahoma City was on top 47-40, but things went downhill quickly at that point. Utah went on an 18-6 run to take a 58-53 lead at halftime.

The second half started off well for Oklahoma City as the Thunder opened up the third quarter with a 10-0 run immediately following a three by the Utah Jazz to give OKC a 63-60 lead. Utah changed that quickly, though, as they put together a 9-0 run of their own to take a 69-63 lead with 7:41 left in the period. The Jazz pushed their lead to as many as 14 at 84-70 with 1:28 left in the third, and a three at the buzzer by Ricky Rubio gave Utah the 89-75 advantage.

Once again, the Thunder started off the fourth quarter strong with a quick 9-2 run to cut the deficit to seven, but that as close as Oklahoma City would get for the rest of the game. Utah would extend the lead to 20 at 113-93 with two minutes left in the game, and at the final buzzer, the Jazz walked away with the dominant 115-102 win.

Box Score

3 Quick Thoughts

  • Effort is Absent: When it came down to it, the biggest issue with the Thunder tonight was a lack of effort. Decision making was about as bad as it could be, and it hurt Oklahoma City in a lot of ways. 17 turnovers cost the Thunder 33 points in favor of the Jazz, and Russell Westbrook led the way with eight of them. Turnovers are bound to happen with this team, but the manner in which they happen should never be to reckless behavior, and that was the case time and time again tonight.
  • Disastrous Defense: Utah did basically whatever they wanted tonight on the offensive end, and Oklahoma City did very little to stop them. The biggest concern was rebounding. The Jazz finished +15 on the boards, and more specifically, Utah had 13 offense rebounds. Simply put, if the Thunder allows the Jazz to take advantage of the glass in Game 4, this series may be over sooner than later.
  • What’s With Russ? It’s safe to say that Russell Westbrook had one of his worst games in recent memory tonight. Westbrook had some forgettable games this season, but a big part of his poor performance tonight was the timing of his mistakes. His turnovers were at costly moments, and his inability to knock down shots killed the offensive flow over and over again. This team can really only go as far as he goes, so he needs to be better so that the Thunder can be better.

Game 4 on Monday

The Thunder stays in Salt Lake City for Game 4 against the Utah Jazz on Monday night. Tip-off is set for 9:30 PM CT and will be televised on TNT and FSOK. The game will also be broadcast on the radio on WWLS 98.1 FM.

Round 1 Schedule Game 4

Be sure to check out our special Playoff Preview, as well as our latest edition of “Thunder Things with the Thunder Guys” with our special guest Matt Hofeld.

Article written by Zack Low. Follow @TheThunderGuys on Twitter & Instagram, and give us a like on Facebook.

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