Durant, Ibaka pace Thunder to 95-73 win over Jazz
Posted at: 11/25/2013 12:05 AM
By KURT VOIGT
(AP) OKLAHOMA CITY - Kevin Durant scored 19 points and Serge Ibaka had 17 points and 11 rebounds to help Oklahoma City extend its best season-opening start at home with a 95-73 win over the struggling Utah Jazz on Sunday night.
The Thunder (9-3) played without All-Star point guard Russell Westbrook, who sat out to rest his surgically repaired right knee.
Even without Westbrook, Oklahoma City’s lead swelled to as many as 37 points in the third quarter. Durant, the NBA’s leading scorer at 29.5 points per game, didn’t play in the fourth quarter _ finishing with nine rebounds and hitting 12 of 13 free throws.
The Thunder have won six straight at home to open the season, their best opening stretch since moving to Oklahoma City.
Enes Kanter and Rudy Gobert led the Jazz (1-14), losers of six straight games, with 10 points apiece.
Former Michigan standout Trey Burke made his first start for Utah, finishing with four points on 2-of-9 shooting. The ninth overall pick in the June draft was playing his third game since returning from surgery on his right index finger.
The point total matched the lowest of the season for Utah, and the margin of defeat nearly equaled its previous worst loss of 24 points _ which has happened twice this season.
Utah, which shot just 39.4 percent (28 of 71), is 0-9 on the road. It’s the only Western Conference team without a road win, and the start is the worst on the road for the Jazz since opening the 1979-80 season 0-11 away from home.
As bad as Utah has been on the road, Oklahoma City has been equally good at home this season. Sunday night’s win was the Thunder’s fifth straight overall, their sixth straight at home to open the season.
The game was third straight at home for Oklahoma City, which is in the middle of six-game home stand.
Playing against the woeful Jazz provided the perfect opportunity for Thunder coach Scott Brooks to give five straight nights off to Westbrook, who had two surgeries on his right knee in the offseason. The game was the first the starting point guard has missed since sitting out the first two games of the season.
Without Westbrook, Oklahoma City’s starters weren’t tested past the third quarter of the blowout win.
The Thunder took a 75-38 lead late in the third quarter after a 3-pointer by Thabo Sefolosha, and they led 47-30 at halftime.
Reggie Jackson _ starting in place of Westbrook _ finished with 10 points. Jeremy Lamb added 15 points and Perry Jones had 13 off the bench.
Oklahoma City struggled in the early going without Westbrook, hitting just one of its first eight shots.
The cold shooting was short lived for the NBA’s sixth-highest scoring team, which entered the game averaging 104.3 points per game.
Even without their All-Star point guard, the Thunder hit 17 of their next 29 shots and finished the first half 18 of 37 (48.6 percent) from the field. They led by as many as 20 points in the half, taking a 47-27 lead after back-to-back baskets by Ibaka, and the Jazz _ 29th in the league in scoring _ offered little resistance.
Utah shot just 33.3 percent (13 of 39) in the first half.
NOTES: The streak of Oklahoma City fans hitting halftime shots for $20,000 ended at two after a fan air-balled his second-quarter attempt. ... Thunder fans have hit five half-court shots during the 2013 calendar year.
(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)