The Oklahoma City Thunder are eager to get back on the court following a tough loss considering how well they play the next time out.
Oklahoma City will try to bounce back against a Northwest Division rival Wednesday night when it hosts the struggling Utah Jazz.
The Thunder (45-24) came up short against Toronto on Sunday, rallying from 12 points down before losing 95-93. That snapped a season-high six-game winning streak.
Kevin Durant(notes) scored 20 points, but the NBA’s leading scorer (27.9 per game) shot only 6 of 21 from the field, and missed a potential game-tying shot in the final seconds. Russell Westbrook(notes) wasn’t much better, finishing with 22 points on 7-of-19 shooting. He’s shot less than 38 percent in each of the last three games.
“It didn’t come out our way this time,” said center Kendrick Perkins(notes), who missed two free throws with 41.7 seconds left. “When you end up with a two-point game like this you can go through the game and pick out little details where you messed up and I’m talking about me personally.
“It’s one of those games where you just have to look yourself in the mirror and come back and be prepared to go against the Jazz for the next game.”
Oklahoma City is four games ahead of Denver for the division lead, and fourth in the West, 3 1/2 games behind third-place Dallas.
In games following a loss, the Thunder are 18-5 and have lost back-to-back home games only once.
“You have to move forward,” coach Scott Brooks said Tuesday. “You pick the things out of the game that you can do better, just like we do when we win games, and you keep going.”
The Thunder have won two of three against Utah this season, but lost 120-99 on Oct. 31 in Oklahoma City. Durant is averaging 31.1 points in his last seven games against the Jazz.
While Oklahoma City is closing in on a playoff berth, there is no such guarantee for the Jazz, whose struggles on the road could keep them out for the first time since 2006.
Utah (36-35) lost its fourth straight away from home, 103-85 to Memphis on Monday. The Jazz are in 11th place, but only three games behind the Grizzlies for the final playoff spot in the West.
“We’re still in it,” Utah coach Tyrone Corbin said. “We’ve got to keep fighting. It’s a disappointing loss. … We can’t quit until we’re out of it.”
The Jazz struggled to get their offense going after Devin Harris(notes) re-injured a hamstring in the first quarter. They had 19 turnovers to 20 assists and no one scored more than Paul Millsap’s(notes) 15 points.
“We got off to a decent start,” Corbin said, “then we got away from it once (Harris) got out of the game. It’s not just the point guard. We lost the execution. We lost our energy.”
While Utah may be without its point guard, Millsap has played well against the Thunder, averaging 28.0 points and 10.7 rebounds in three meetings this season.