Jazz-Thunder Preview


With Kevin Durant leading the way, the Oklahoma City Thunder have yet to lose on their own court.

It's hard to envision them coming up short Sunday night against the one-win Utah Jazz.

The Thunder try to continue their best home start since moving to Oklahoma City and extend the Jazz's worst road start since their first season in Utah.

Three nights after scoring 38 points in a 115-113 win over Denver to open a six-game homestand, Durant had 28 to go with eight assists Thursday as Oklahoma City (8-3) beat the Los Angeles Clippers 105-91. Serge Ibaka also came up big with 17 points on 8-of-10 shooting for the Thunder, who are 5-0 at home for the first time since opening 9-0 as the Seattle SuperSonics in 2004-05.

"We're just trying to get better every day," center Kendrick Perkins told the team's official website. "It's the 11th game in the season, so each day we're trying to grow individually, we're trying to teach our young guys and I think we're getting better."

Durant is posting an NBA-best 29.5 points per game and his 31.0 average at home is four better than anyone else. Oklahoma City is averaging 107.2 points and shooting 46.6 percent at home compared to 101.8 and 43.3 percent on the road.

That doesn't bode well for league-worst Utah (1-13), the only Western Conference team without a road win. At 0-8, the Jazz are off to their worst start away from home since opening 0-11 in 1979-80 in the season after they moved from New Orleans.

Utah has dropped four straight in Oklahoma City by an average of 18.3 points and nine of 11 overall in the series. While the Jazz put up a fight against the Thunder in a season-opening 101-98 home loss Oct. 30, they had no answer for Durant, who scored 15 of his 42 points - still a season high - in the fourth quarter.

Utah is coming off a fifth straight loss, 103-93 at Dallas on Friday. The Jazz shot 50.0 percent but were outrebounded 41-31 and went 8 of 12 from the foul line, compared to the Mavericks' 20-for-27 effort.

Marvin Williams scored 16 of his 19 points in the second half and fellow reserve Jeremy Evans added 14. Williams, who missed the previous game after undergoing surgery on a broken nose, is averaging 16.3 points in his last three contests after scoring 4.6 per game through his first five.

"I can't say enough about how much we appreciate him," coach Tyrone Corbin said. "Actually playing a few games before having (his nose) reset (after) he broke it."

Corbin is considering moving Williams and rookie point guard Trey Burke into the starting lineup to shake things up. Burke, the No. 9 overall pick in this year's draft, has scored a combined 16 points in limited minutes over the last two games after missing the start of the season with a fractured finger.

Burke could help jump-start an offense averaging a West-worst 89.6 points. The Jazz also rank near the bottom of the NBA with a 1.07 assist-to-turnover ratio.

While Alec Burks averaged 14.6 points over the first seven games, he has been limited to 7.9 over the last seven. Burks scored 24 - two shy of his career high - against Oklahoma City earlier this season.

Russell Westbrook, who missed that first meeting with a knee injury, is averaging 24.7 points on 54.9 percent shooting - well above his career mark of 43.2 - in his last 13 games against the Jazz. He had a season-low 12 points Thursday.