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Bench, Westbrook help Thunder lower boom on Jazz

Sports Xchange - Wednesday 6th December, 2017

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Russell Westbrook heated up, and the Oklahoma City Thunder started their push back.

However, it was a stretch early in the fourth quarter with Westbrook and two of the Thunder's other starters on the bench that lit the fuse in Oklahoma City's 100-94 win over the Utah Jazz on Tuesday night at Chesapeake Energy Arena.

"It's very satisfying when the bench comes in and we don't retreat, we don't have any lapses," Thunder forward Patrick Patterson said. "It's very satisfying. For us to come in and give us some momentum and the starters come back in and just build on that and just take it up another notch, it was good for us."

The Thunder (11-12) posted their third consecutive win while beating the Jazz for the 13th consecutive time at home.

Westbrook started the pushback in the third quarter after Oklahoma City fell behind by 17 with four minutes to go.

"Russell Westbrook, the MVP of the league, got going," Jazz coach Quin Snyder said. "I thought in the third quarter he gave them a lot of energy and gave them points."

Westbrook poured in 11 of the Thunder's 13 points the rest of the quarter to cut the deficit to 12 before giving way to Patterson and the rest of the second unit for a bit to start the fourth.

The group that included Paul George, Andre Roberson and bench players Patterson, Raymond Felton and Jerami Grant cut the Jazz's lead to six before the rest of the Thunder's starters re-entered with 7:30 remaining.

The Thunder outscored the Jazz 24-12 the rest of the way, with Utah (13-12) scoring only 14 points in the fourth quarter.

"I thought we ran out of steam a little bit just emotionally," Snyder said. "We've got to be able to play through that, but I thought all in all, obviously you want to win, but there's a lot of good things that we did."

The loss snapped a six-game winning streak for Utah.

Westbrook had his seventh triple-double of the season, finishing with 34 points, 14 assists and 13 rebounds.

George added 21 points while Steven Adams scored 20 points, his third consecutive game with 19 or more. Adams was 9 of 10 from the floor and also grabbed nine rebounds.

"The reason why Steven is doing what he's doing is because of Carmelo Anthony and Paul George," Oklahoma City coach Billy Donovan said. "When we're patient on offense, Steven's going to get those opportunities.

"Steven's not doing anything different from maybe he's done in the past. It's not like we're throwing the ball into the low post and this guy's going to a variety of different moves. He's catching it in the lane, he's making floaters, and if he doesn't have a floater, he's making extra passes.

"He's offensive rebounding. He's doing those things, but it has to do with a lot of those guys around him on the floor."

Anthony had 14 points for his first double-digit scoring performance in the win streak.

Donovan Mitchell led Utah with 31 points, and Joe Ingles added 16.

Anthony and George combined for 19 points in the fourth quarter to help Oklahoma City complete the rally.

Westbrook picked the ball away from Mitchell with 4:14 left and finished it off on the other end to put the Thunder up 88-87, their first lead since the opening moments of the game.

It was one of two critical turnovers for Mitchell down the stretch.

After the Jazz regained the lead briefly, George drove to the basket, finishing and picking up the foul to put the Thunder back in front.

Mitchell turned the ball over again on the ensuing possession, and this time it was Anthony finishing on the other end, taking a feed from Westbrook and hitting a step-back jumper to extend the lead.

The Thunder outrebounded the Jazz 23-13 in the fourth quarter.

Oklahoma City is 3-9 in games decided by eight points or fewer, though all three wins have come during the current winning streak.

NOTES: Jazz PG Raul Neto, a night after returning from two games out with an injury, missed the game due to right foot soreness. Utah G Rodney Hood sat out his fifth consecutive game because of left ankle soreness. ... Thunder PG Russell Westbrook blocked his 200th career shot, becoming the only player in NBA history with 200 blocks, 5,000 assists and 15,000 points in his first 700 career games. ... Utah G Thabo Sefolosha played in the game a night after being removed by referees when he took an elbow to the head from teammate Neto. He scored 11 points. ... Thunder C Steven Adams made his first seven shots from the field.

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