OKLAHOMA CITY — For the past month, every time Utah has taken the court, it has been fighting for its playoff lives. It has no room for error.
Yet, that was not the way the Jazz took the court Wednesday. Facing Oklahoma City, Utah played as if the season was over as the Thunder won 110-87 at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
"Oklahoma City is a good team and they beat us tonight," Utah's Gordon Hayward said. "We got embarrassed and we have to be able to compete in these games. Coming down to three or four weeks left in the season, trying to get into the playoffs, we can't come out with efforts like this."
With the L.A. Lakers losing also, Utah (33-32) remained one game behind the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
Oklahoma City (48-18) didn't play up to its normal standards, either. Coming off its thrashing at the hands of San Antonio, Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks had hoped to see a better offensive showing. Instead, his team shot 50 percent from the field and racked up 25 turnovers.
But the Thunder's defense was good enough to earn the blowout victory and stay one game behind the Spurs for the best record in the conference.
"Of course after the lost, it was important to try and bounce back," Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant said. "This team beat us pretty badly up in Utah so we wanted to come out and send a message. And we did that."
Durant almost had a dubious triple double, posting 23 points, 10 rebounds and eight turnovers. It was also the second straight game he shot 7 for 13 from the field in 28 minutes.
Russell Westbrook added 19 points, nine assists, seven rebounds and five turnovers. Kevin Martin came off the bench to score 15.
No Utah starter reached double figures in points, rebounds or assists. Gordon Hayward paced the team with 18 points on 6-for-14 shooting. Al Jefferson had eight points and seven rebounds.
"That's very concerning," Utah coach Corbin said. "Not just not hitting double figures, it’s the way we played. I thought they had us on the perimeter all game long. We just weren't focused and the effort wasn't there."
Led by Randy Foye, the Jazz jumped out to a quick 12-6 lead in the first quarter. The Thunder had no energy and Utah used the opportunity to beat them on the board and down the court.
After Brooks called a timeout, Oklahoma City went on a 23-7 run to end the first quarter. The Thunder led 29-19 heading into the second period.
Durant started out cold from the field with a 1-for-4 shooting performance. Several of his shots came when he drove into the paint and collided with Utah's big men. However, the league leader in free throw makes and percentage didn't get the foul calls. He also accounted for six turnovers in the first half.
As bad as Durant looked, the entire Jazz lineup was off their game. They shot 22.7 percent in the first two quarters and trailed Oklahoma City 50-28 at halftime. The Thunder held the Jazz to nine points in the second quarter, a record for the fewest points allowed in a quarter in the Oklahoma City era.
The Thunder made a concerted effort to get the ball to Durant in the third quarter and he went on the attack. He scored nine of the team's first 11 points and gave Oklahoma City a 61-35 lead.
"I was struggling early on, really bad," Durant said. "Was down on myself. My teammates came to my rescue I guess. Russell was the main guy. I really appreciate him doing that. He could have just easily let me fall to the wayside. He kept me involved, kept my spirits up. That is what you need a point guard to do."
The only real spirit the Jazz showed the entire night took place when DeMarre Carroll gave Durant a little hip check as the two cross halfcourt midway through the third. As the flagrant foul was being called, Westbrook got into Carroll's face and landed a well place forearm into his chest.
The players had to be separated and Durant had to calm Westbrook down. That was not enough to pick up the energy level for the rest of the team. Even though the two teams combined for five technical fouls, it was a one-sided fight.
"It wasn't a dirty foul," Carroll said. "He had just hit six points. I was trying to stop him. That's what defensive people do. You don't let him keep getting a rhythm. I fouled him, but I don't think it was a flagrant foul. I guess cause the crowd got into it, they had to call a flagrant."