SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Sports) – Having already locked up a playoff bid, the Utah Jazz are trying to get in playoff shape.
Resting Donovan Mitchell, Mike Conley and Royce O’Neale, the Jazz still had plenty of firepower to blow past the Oklahoma City Thunder Wednesday night, 137-101.
Bojan Bogdanovic scored 27 points, Rudy Gobert added 20 points and 10 rebounds as the Jazz won for the 14th time in its last 15 home games.
Jordan Clarkson had 18 points and a season-high 10 assists for his first double-double in a Jazz uniform. Hassan Whiteside added 15 points, 11 rebounds and five blocks, as the Jazz remained in the fifth seed in the Western Conference with two games remaining in the regular season.
“It’s not an easy road, you know it’s not an easy road coming in playing three to four minute stretches,” said Whiteside. “My first time in my career you know it’s not easy, but I just come in and try to make as big of an impact as I can.”
“When Hassan plays with enthusiasm and energy, he goes to another level,” said Jazz head coach Quin Snyder.
Utah stormed out of the gates, scoring a season-high 41 points in the first quarter. The
Jaylen Hoard scored 23 points for Oklahoma City. Isaiah Roby and Jeremiah Robinson-Earl each added 18 points.
With nine inactive players due to a slew of injuries, the Thunder struggled to keep pace with Utah once the Jazz found their shot.
Utah surged ahead late in the first quarter on a layup from Bogdanovic that sparked a 16-2 run. The Jazz scored baskets on nine straight possessions.
Oklahoma City cut the deficit to two points in the second quarter, with Lindy Waters III making three straight 3-pointers to fuel a 13-2 run. Hoard cut to the rim for a layup to cap the run and trim Utah’s lead to 57-55.
Clarkson answered with back-to-back baskets to keep Oklahoma City from overtaking the Jazz. He also set up baskets from Gobert on consecutive possessions to help Utah take a 71-58 lead into halftime. The Jazz led by double digits virtually the entire second half.
After the Thunder cut the deficit to nine on a 3-pointer from Robinson-Earl, Utah used a 27-5 run to build up a 118-87 lead early in the fourth quarter.
Rudy Gay added 12 points and eight rebounds in his best game in weeks.
“It’s been awhile since I’ve been able to get in rhythm and actually feel like part of the game,” Gay said. “But I feel like these past two games,we really had a better understanding of each other.”
Utah scored a season-high 41 points in the first quarter. Jared Butler had eight assists in the second half en route to a career-high 10.
The Jazz next host Phoenix on Friday night before concluding the regular season Sunday at Portland.