3 min read

Tuesday Bolts 11.24.15

Tuesday Bolts 11.24.15

Enes Kanter kinda says sorry for being mean last year: “Enes Kanter’s return to Utah brought an expected pack of local reporters into the Thunder’s locker room pregame. Considering what Kanter said about the organization the last time he spoke in Salt Lake City — ripping on basically everything but the city’s mountains — there was a bit of tension in the room and an interest in what he’d say. Kanter, though, was complimentary of the Jazz organization and mildly contrite about what went down this past March. “I think that I was a little, you know, harsh,” Kanter said. “But I just want to clear, I have no problem with the players or the fans. I respect the guys and they helped me a lot with my career. They helped me a lot in my first 31/2 years.” The interview, from Kanter’s side, was a clear attempt to squash the feud that current teammate and friend Steve Novak, who came over from Utah in the Kanter trade, called “silly.”

Durant returns, Thunder good: “The return of the 2014 MVP appeared to bring balance to the Thunder offense, as well. Four others scored in double figures, but the more impressive stat involved eight players attempting between five and 13 field goals. Extended garbage time is responsible for a few of those totals, but a combined 23 shots for Durant and Russell Westbrook (20 points on 5-of-10 FG and nine assists) shows that the Thunder did not depend too much on their superstars.”The Salt Lake Tribune: “Rudy Gobert walked back to the locker room at the start of the fourth quarter Monday night, in pain and holding his hand against his lower back. The diagnosis: a tailbone contusion and, fortunately for the Utah Jazz, not a serious one. So the center was back on the bench a short while later to watch the Oklahoma City Thunder finish kicking the Jazz’s hind ends. On their home floor, the Jazz suffered their most lopsided defeat of the season, a 111-89 whooping at the hands of Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and the Thunder. Oh yeah, this one hurt. And the Jazz want to remember how bad it felt. “We’ve got to make sure that we let this feeling sit for a little while,” said forward Gordon Hayward, who led Utah with 19 points, four assists and three rebounds. “You don’t want to have that again.”

Here’s Russ talking about the game: “Durant was 10 for 13 from the field in 30 minutes. Russell Westbrook narrowly missed his third triple-double of the season with 20 points, seven rebounds and nine assists. The Thunder (9-6) ran away with the game in the second quarter, outscoring the Jazz 40-26 and shooting 14 for 19 from the field. “You got 30 points that is not in the lineup, so that changes a lot for your team,” Westbrook said, “and when you have that back it makes it easier. As you can see tonight, that makes it a lot easier for us as a team.” Gordon Hayward led the Jazz (6-7) with 19 points. Derrick Favors had 11 points, seven rebounds and two blocks, and Rudy Gobert finished with 10 points.”

From Anthony Slater: “Just three days ago, bubbling panic spread through the Thunder’s fanbase, reacting to a string of lackluster performances and the lingering hamstring strain that kept Kevin Durant sidelined. Three days, two solid showings and one MVP return later, the worry seems to have subsided. Kevin Durant reentered the Thunder lineup on Monday night in Utah and the Thunder, complete again, looked as dominant as we’ve seen them under coach Billy Donovan, blistering a solid Jazz team 111-89 for an impressive road win on the second night of a back-to-back. A batch of early turnovers stuck the Thunder in a small hole. But then everything clicked, starting with the dominant skill of Durant. OKC squirted past Utah for a 3-point lead at the end of the first quarter then detonated for 40 points in the second to claim a comfortable halftime lead that only grew after the break.”