NBA: Balanced Thunder rout Jazz | Inquirer Sports

NBA: Balanced Thunder rout Jazz

/ 11:52 AM March 04, 2023

Jalen Williams OKC Thunder NBA

FILE – Jalen Williams #8 of the Oklahoma City Thunder yells after a slam dunk during the second quarter against the Los Angeles Lakers at Paycom Center on March 01, 2023 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Ian Maule/Getty Images/AFP

Aaron Wiggins scored a season-high 27 points, 17 in the fourth quarter, to help the Oklahoma City Thunder beat the Utah Jazz 130-103 on Friday in Oklahoma City.

Josh Giddey added 18 points, 13 assists and six rebounds for the Thunder while Jalen Williams scored 20.


Five different Oklahoma City players scored at least 17 points.


In dropping their first five games after the All-Star break, the Thunder had struggled with slow starts that left them playing catch-up.

That wasn’t an issue Friday.

Williams hit a 3-pointer 13 seconds into the game and just more than three minutes in, Oklahoma City led by 11, 17-6, thanks to five 3-pointers.

Giddey hit none of those shots from beyond the arc. But he still had plenty to do with the Thunder’s early offensive onslaught, assisting on four of those early 3-pointers.


By the time the first quarter was over, Oklahoma City had seven 3-pointers and Giddey had six assists.

While the Thunder turned around at least one of their recent issues, Utah’s got worse. The Jazz had struggled with turnovers over their last four games, with 20 or more turnovers in three of those matchups.

Friday, Utah had a season-high 25 turnovers, leading to 31 Oklahoma City points. Utah scored six points on seven Thunder turnovers.

The Thunder, who lead the league in forced turnovers, had not forced more than 24 this season before Friday.

The Jazz, who have dropped back-to-back games, never led. Lauri Markkanen led Utah with 20 points and added 10 rebounds.

Both teams were playing short-handed.

The Thunder’s Shai Gilgeous-Alexander was out for the fifth consecutive game with an abdominal strain and remains in the NBA’s health and safety protocols.

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Utah’s Collin Sexton missed his fourth consecutive game with a left hamstring strain and Jordan Clarkson missed his second consecutive with a right thumb sprain.

Jared Butler, who played 42 games for the Jazz last season, made his season debut late, a day after Oklahoma City signed him to a two-way contract.

Friday’s game was the first of two consecutive for the teams in Oklahoma City. They’ll meet Sunday in the third of four meetings this season.


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TAGS: NBA, OKC Thunder

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