OKLAHOMA CITY — For several years, Chesapeake Energy Arena has been one of the toughest places for the Jazz to win a ball game. The last time they won here in October of 2010, Donovan Mitchell was in junior high school.
For most of Tuesday night’s game, it looked like the Jazz were going to break through and finally defeat Oklahoma City on its home court for the first time in seven years and a dozen tries. The Jazz were sinking shots and playing aggressive defense as they built up a 17-point lead against the Thunder and appeared to be on their way to their seventh straight win of the season.
Then, a combination of Russell Westbrook coming alive and the Jazz running out of gas happened.
Westbrook scored 17 points and had nine rebounds and eight assists in the second half on his way to a 34-point, 14-assist, 13-rebound triple-double night against a Jazz team that had played the night before in Salt Lake City. The Thunder rallied to a 100-94 victory.
Meanwhile, the Jazz, who had crushed the Washington Wizards by 47 points Monday at Vivint Arena in one of their best games of the season, suddenly looked sluggish in the fourth quarter, as they couldn’t make a basket, going just 6 for 20 and turning the ball over at key times.
When asked about his team’s struggles at the end when they were outscored 45-22 over the final 16 minutes of the game, the first thing Jazz coach Quin Snyder mentioned was Westbrook.
“Russell Westbrook, the MVP of the league, got going in the third quarter,” he said. “He gave them a lot of energy and gave them points.”
Snyder also said his team was spent, both physically and emotionally.
“We ran out of steam a little bit emotionally,” Snyder said. “We’ve got to be able to play through that. We need to have a little more in the tank late.”
The Jazz had another terrific performance from Mitchell, who has been on fire lately, as he finished with a game-high 31 points on 11-of-22 shooting, including 5 of 12 from 3-point range and four assists and five steals. Thabo Sefolosha finished with 11 points, eight rebounds and four steals in a fine performance off the bench, and Alec Burks also scored 11 in a reserve role. Joe Ingles finished with 16 points.
The Jazz, who matched a season high with 16 steals on the night, had taken it to the Thunder from the…