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Sports

January 7, 2014

Thunder drop one in Utah

SALT LAKE CITY — Gordon Hayward scored a career-high 37 points, including Utah’s final 17 points, to overcome Kevin Durant’s 48 points and lead the Jazz to a 112-101 win over Oklahoma City on Tuesday night.

After the Thunder sliced a 24-point Jazz lead to 99-94, Hayward made five straight jumpers — two of them 3-pointers — in his personal 17-0 run to clinch Utah’s fourth straight home win.

The Utah forward made 13 of 16 field goals and added 11 rebounds and seven assists to offset Durant, who matched this season’s NBA high scoring total that he set against the Timberwolves on Saturday.

Without Russell Westbrook and Serge Ibaka, Durant took the ball nearly every possession in the fourth quarter. He missed all four final-period field-goal attempts but made 11 of 13 from the line in the final 12 minutes.

Derrick Favors had 15 and Marvin Williams scored 12 to help snap the Thunder’s eight-game road winning streak. Richard Jefferson, Enes Kanter and Trey Burke all had 10 points.

The Jazz easily drove the lane for draw-and-kicks, which led to a bevy of open jump shots. The Thunder looked visibly winded, playing at 4,250 feet above sea level at the tail end of a three-game-in-four-night stretch.

Favors capped an 11-2 run with a jumper to give the Jazz their largest lead at 84-60. The margin is Utah’s second largest of the season, just behind a 28-point lead the Jazz had in Sacramento in a 122-101 win on Dec. 11.

But Durant kept attacking and the Jazz starting missing after shooting well above 60 percent for much of the game. Utah finished at 58.8 percent as the team with the worst record in the Western Conference beat the top club in the conference.

The atmosphere turned testy in the fourth quarter as the Thunder fought back. Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks got a technical for crossing midcourt to protest a call with 10:16 to play. Moments later, official Zach Zarba prohibited a Jazz fan from throwing a ball in the air behind the basket while Durant shot free throws. Then Enes Kanter was whistled for another technical with 9:19 remaining.

The Thunder used a 7-0 surge — all on free throws — to draw within 92-82.

Oklahoma City’s comeback strangled the free-flowing Jazz offense for a time. Eight turnovers in the fourth quarter allowed the Thunder to trim the lead to 99-94 after Durant’s two foul shots with 4:50 left.

Oklahoma City had won its last eight road games, two off the franchise record of 10 straight.

Ibaka did not dress due to flu-like symptoms. The 6-foot-10 forward had not missed a game this season and is averaging career highs in points (14.1) and rebounds (8.7). Outside of Durant, only Reggie Jackson reached double-figures in scoring with 20 and the Thunder shot 17.6 percent from outside the arc (6 of 34).

Jackson started for an injured Westbrook in all three matchups with the Jazz this season, and the Thunder won the first two. Oklahoma City had taken four straight and 10 of 12 in the series before Tuesday night.

Six of the Thunder’s eight losses have been by eight or fewer points, and this one looked to be just the second blowout defeat before the Oklahoma City’s comeback.

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