After losses, most players just look to forget the defeat and move on—but Gordon Hayward wants to make sure he remembers Monday night’s loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder.
The Jazz (6-7) suffered their most lopsided setback of the season, falling 111-89 to the Thunder (9-6) at home Monday. G-Time had a team-high 19 points and added three rebounds, four assists and two steals, but he left hoping he and his Jazz can learn a lesson in defeat.
“We’ve got to make sure that we let this feeling sit for a little while,” Gordon said. “You don’t want to have that again.”
Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant led all players with 27 points in his return from injury and Russell Westbrook added 20 points. The Thunder got out to a 7-1 start, but the Jazz came storming back.
Gordon did all he could to slow Durant in his comeback. At the 6:37 mark, he notched a steal on KD and turned it into a dunk on the other end to tie the game at nine. Gordon then knocked down two free throws and dished to Raul Neto for a bucket down low to push the Jazz out to a four-point lead.
However, overall, the Jazz were sloppy in the early going, turning it over six times and shooting just 38.9 percent from the field. They trailed 23-20 at the end of one as a result.
Then in the second quarter, the OKC bench came out firing. The Thunder bench shot 10-of-13, and the team shot 73.7 percent as a whole. The Jazz had their best offensive quarter too. Gordon, Rudy Gobert and Derrick Favors combined to score 17 points, but there was no keeping up with the red-hot Thunder.
OKC scored 40 in the quarter to take a 63-46 advantage into the second half. G-Time talked after the game about how the usually stout Utah defense was out of sorts throughout.
“We have to learn from it,” Gordon said. “We just didn’t play our best basketball, especially on the defensive end. I think some of it’s contributed to our offense. It’s hard to play defense when you’re not set up.”
Utah brought some fight to the beginning of the second half. Three straight buckets by Utah’s big three—Gobert, Favors and Gordon—brought the deficit back down to 13 points. Gordon attacked the basket and earned five points from the stripe to lead all scorers with 10 points in the third, but the Thunder offense was relentless.
OKC shot 57.9 percent and led by 20, 88-68, going into the fourth quarter. With the game out of hand, Gordon didn’t play in the final frame, while Westbrook and Durant also sat.
Gordon identified his team’s performance in the loss as uncharacteristic. The Jazz and the Thunder split their previous six meetings, and neither team eclipsed 100 points in their four meetings last year. Utah even held OKC under 90 points a year ago. So even after the tough defeat, G-Time knows his Jazz can still compete with this team.
“We can compete with this team,” Gordon said. “We’ve shown we’ve beaten them before, just not tonight. We got outplayed in every way tonight and it’s unacceptable. It’s embarrassing.”
The Jazz travel to Los Angeles to face the Clippers, a Western Conference opponent with an identical 6-7 record. While the Jazz are on a two-game slide, the Clippers have dug themselves in a worse hole as of late.
The Clippers have lost their last three games and five of their last six. Still, the Clippers are 5-3 at home, and in desperate need of a win, they’ll certainly provide a challenge.
Tipoff is set for 8:30 p.m. MT from the STAPLES Center and will be broadcast on ROOT Sports.