Dennis Schroder scored 24 points, and Russell Westbrook had 23 points and 11 rebounds as the Oklahoma City Thunder beat the Utah Jazz 98-89 on Monday night in Salt Lake City.
The win was just the third in nine games for the Thunder, who beat the Jazz for the fourth time this season to sweep the season series.
Utah lost for the third time in the past four games overall.
Schroder put up his best scoring total since Feb. 1, when he had 28 points at Miami. However, it was Oklahoma City’s defense that made the difference Monday, holding Utah to just 36.4 percent shooting from the floor.
The Jazz scored just 37 first-half points as the Thunder built their lead early.
A game after attempting a franchise-record 48 3-pointers, the Jazz tried 24 in the first half Monday.
Throughout much of the second quarter, Utah didn’t attempt much inside at all.
After Donovan Mitchell’s jumper with 7:42 left before half, Utah’s next 11 shots came from behind the 3-point arc. The Jazz made just two as Oklahoma City extended its lead from four to 13 before halftime.
Utah’s next shot from inside the arc came with less than 30 seconds remaining in the half.
The Jazz cut what had been a 17-point Thunder lead to six with less than nine minutes remaining but Utah couldn’t get any closer.
Mitchell had 25 points to lead the Jazz.
Paul George struggled offensively yet again for the Thunder, though he finished with 14 points and 11 rebounds. Since returning from missing three games due to a shoulder injury, George is shooting just 30.6 percent from the floor and 22.9 percent from behind the 3-point arc. George missed all three of his 3-point tries Monday and attempted a season-low eight field goals, making two.
While the Jazz were without Ricky Rubio (hip) and Raul Neto (hamstring), Rubio for the second consecutive game and Neto for the sixth, Utah did get some good news on the injury front.
Point guard Dante Exum, who had missed 25 games with a severe left ankle sprain and bone bruise, returned for the first time since Jan. 5. Exum finished scoreless in nearly 15 minutes.
—Field Level Media