ORLANDO (ABC4 Sports) – The Utah Jazz second game inside the NBA bubble was nothing like its first.
Utah trailed by as many as 29 points and never got closer than 16 in the second half, as the Jazz got blown out by the Oklahoma City Thunder on Saturday, 110-94.
Shea Gilgeous-Alexander scored 19 points to lead the Thunder, while Donovan Mitchell led the Jazz with just 13 points on 5 of 15 from the field.
“We didn’t look like the team tonight that we’ve seen,” Jazz head coach Quin Snyder said. “Credit to Oklahoma City, they made it hard. They made it really hard, but we’ve got to be able to execute and compete through those things.”
Chris Paul scored 18 points, dished out 7 assists and pulled down 7 rebounds, while Steven Adams had 16 points and 11 rebounds for Oklahoma City. Danilo Gallinari added 15 points and the Thunder shot 53 percent from the field.
Utah, which played much better in a thrilling 106-104 win over New Orleans on Thursday, shot 39 percent from the field and was just 8 of 31 on 3-pointers.
“Honestly, they just took us out of our stuff,” Mitchell said. “When a team gets physical, we’ve just to attack the rim to make plays. I think that’s why you didn’t see a lot of assists. We’d get so close to running the play that we kind of get stopped and get stuck in isolation.”
The teams were to meet on March 11 in Oklahoma City, but everything changed when Utah center Rudy Gobert’s COVID-19 test came up positive right before the tip. That night, the NBA announced it would shut down indefinitely.
“It’s a little weird,” Adams said of the rematch. “It was kind of, almost more like an epiphany almost. Just like a weird feeling that you’re in it right now, right? This is what we’re doing now.”
Months later, the matchup remained an important one. With the win, Oklahoma City moved within a half-game of the Jazz for fourth place in the Western Conference standings and within 1 1/2 games of Denver for third.
Oklahoma City shot 65 percent in the first half and rolled to a 66-42 lead at the break. Four Thunder players scored in double figures in the first half.
“You could sense the intensity that they played with and came out with from the first quarter and on,” said Jazz point guard Mike Conley, who scored 12 points. “The pressure they were applying defensively, we were not applying the same kind of force and pressure back toward them. We weren’t driving and kicking and making plays toward each other. We gotta be much more prepared mentally than we were in a more physical night like tonight.”
Oklahoma City cruised the rest of the way, taking an 86-62 lead into the fourth quarter, building the lead to as high as 29 points.
“I thought they took us out of almost everything we were trying to do,” Snyder said. “There were some windows where we did have some success. We weren’t able to finish. We missed some shots, but this wasn’t about us missing shots.”
The Jazz (42-24) next take on the Los Angeles Lakers Monday night at 7:00 p.m.