OKC Thunder: Five takeaways from win against Jazz
The Thunder resumed its season with a dominant 110-94 win against the Jazz on Saturday afternoon. Here are five takeaways from the game:
Paul’s all-around game
Chris Paul controlled all parts of the game. He facilitated, he scored from his patented mid-range spot and he played savvy veteran defense.
The Thunder outscored the Jazz by 27 points with Paul on the floor.
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Paul was hardly needed in the fourth quarter of a blowout. He finished with 18 points, seven assists and seven rebounds.
The Thunder held the Jazz to 15 first-quarter points. It was the fewest first-quarter points the Thunder has allowed all season.
Utah went into the locker room at halftime with 42 points and a 24-point deficit. The margin hovered around 20 points for the rest of the game.
The Thunder recorded five steals and five blocks in the first half.
Utah’s third-quarter offense wasn’t much better, but credit the Thunder’s defense. The communication between OKC’s guards could be heard through the broadcast even late in the game.
Roberson officially returns
Andre Roberson checked in with 5:12 left in the second quarter. After playing in three scrimmages, it was his first official NBA appearance in 917 days.
His first defensive assignment? Donovan Mitchell.
Roberson’s lateral quickness might not be where it was pre-injury, but he held his own against Utah’s star guard.
Roberson and starting guard Luguentz Dort held Mitchell to 13 points and a 5-of-15 shooting line.
Roberson was the second Thunder wing off the bench behind Hamidou Diallo. Terrance Ferguson and Abdel Nader didn't play until the fourth quarter.
Attacking the paint
Two-time Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert didn’t deter the Thunder from attacking the rim.
Whether it was Paul, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, or Steven Adams, the Thunder was both relentless and efficient in the paint.
OKC shot 65% from the restricted area.
Adams recorded a double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds. Gilgeous-Alexander led the Thunder with 19 points while dishing six assists.
Defending from distance
Utah shot just 8-of-31 (26 percent) from deep. The Thunder was 10-of-26 from 3-point range.
Strangely enough, the Thunder converted two non-traditional four-point plays in the first half thanks to off-ball fouls during the shot.
Diallo, who looks to be in line for a big role for the rest of the season, made both of his 3-point attempts. Diallo came into the game shooting 20% from three.