Sport News Second-half comeback gives jazz victory over Oklahoma City

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For those who don’t believe Rudy Gobert deserves his NBA status, all they had to do was watch his performance Wednesday night against Oklahoma City.

As the Jazz struggled to reverse shots and defend against the athletic Thunder, Gobert showed up in a massive fashion to lead the comeback in the second half. His 15th double-double of the season helped Utah overcome a slow start and defeat Oklahoma City 110-104.

“I think we’re trying hard, there’s just a bit of a lack of focus,” Utah head coach Quin Snyder said after the game. “I thought our transition defense was better. A few situations where we just need to be a little more disciplined, but I think our focus and effort was really good.”

Gobert filled the stat sheet with 15 points, 17 rebounds, five blocks and two steals, finishing with a top-rated +13. Even with all five blocks, Gobert changed almost double that number of shots as he took full control on both sides of the pitch in the crucial fourth quarter when the Jazz needed him most.

He even showed impressive footwork on the offensive end, getting a steal and dribbling all over the court before finishing with a euro step and a two-handed dunk.

After struggling several times throughout the game, Utah found themselves four points behind early in the fourth quarter. But as usual for the team this season, there hasn’t been any shrinking in the greatest moments.

The Jazz had a 15-4 run to take a 99-94 lead with just under five to go. Nine of those points came from three runs, including three consecutive from Jordan Clarkson and Rudy Gay to start the race.

Oklahoma City rallied to tie the game at 101 with 2:35 left before Utah had another point that sidelined the game. A quick 6-0 flurry with the buckets of Mike Conley and Donovan Mitchell helped the Jazz move to 12-6 this season.

Despite the final five-point margin against a Thunder team that is 6-12 this season, the Jazz are proud of their performance. They noted that they did a lot of things right, including the movement of the ball, the defensive rebound and the transition back, but the shots just didn’t fall.

“I don’t think the score reflects the way we played as a group,” Mitchell said. “We had a few breakdowns, but we did a lot of good things that we can remember and be proud of.”

“We were just moving the ball around, finding the man open. A lot of us were shooting good shots for good shots, ”said Clarkson.

Despite scoring just 21 points in the first 12 minutes, Snyder said the first quarter was one of the best offensives he’s seen from the team this season. Combining ball movement with shot selection, this was the kind of offense he expects his team to have a double-digit lead when executed that way.

“I think we played as well as we have the whole season offensively, especially in the first quarter,” said Snyder. “I mean, the ball was moving.… We just didn’t shoot. I felt like we could have had a 15-20 point lead in the first quarter.”

After falling four early in the second quarter, Utah saw their deficit reach eight, their biggest deficit of the game.

Gay kicked off an 11-0 streak with five combined points on back-to-back possessions before Clarkson and Joe Ingles ended it with three runs for the 32-29 lead.

Utah then had their biggest first-half lead at five after a pair of free throws from Bojan Bogdanovic, but the Thunder responded with a 7-0 run before finally taking a 52-49 lead to the half time.

Clarkson finished with a high 20 points, five assists and three rebounds, coaching six Utah players in double digits. Bogdanovic added 19 points and five rebounds, while Conley had 18 points and four assists. Gay came off the bench to score 15 points and take five rebounds – he and Clarkson helped Utah score 40 points off the bench.

Lou Dort finished high with 27 points for Oklahoma City, while Josh Giddey added a near triple-double with 19 points, eight assists and seven rebounds.

The Jazz have the opportunity to celebrate Thanksgiving with their families before welcoming the New Orleans Pelicans in back-to-back games Friday and Saturday. Tipoff is set at 7:00 PM MST on both nights.

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