The Norman Transcript

Sports

March 14, 2013

KD, Thunder able to get past early struggles

(Continued)

OKLAHOMA CITY —

Russell Westbrook added 19 points, nine assists, seven rebounds and five turnovers. Kevin Martin came off the bench to score 15.

No Utah starter reached double figures in points, rebounds or assists. Gordon Hayward paced the team with 18 points on 6-for-14 shooting. Al Jefferson had eight points and seven rebounds.

Durant started out cold from the field with a 1-for-4 shooting performance. Several of his shots came when he drove into the paint and collided with Utah’s big men. However, the league leader in free throw makes and percentage didn’t get the foul calls. He also accounted for six turnovers in the first half.

As bad as Durant looked, the entire Jazz lineup was off their game. They shot 22.7 percent in the first two quarters and trailed Oklahoma City 50-28 at halftime. The Thunder held the Jazz to nine points in the second quarter, a record for the fewest points allowed in a quarter in the Oklahoma City era.

The Thunder made a concerted effort to get the ball to Durant in the third quarter, and he went on the attack. He scored nine of the team’s first 11 points and gave Oklahoma City a 61-35 lead.

“I was struggling early on really bad,” Durant said “Was down on myself. My teammates came to my rescue. Russell was the main guy. I really appreciate him doing that. He could have just easily let me fall to the wayside. He kept me involved, kept my spirits up. That is what you need a point guard to do.”

The only real spirit the Jazz showed the entire night took place when DeMarre Carroll gave Durant a little hip check as the two crossed halfcourt midway through the third. As the flagrant foul was being called, Westbrook got into Carroll’s face and landed a well place forearm into his chest.

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