(AP Photo/Danny Chan La)

Jazz Hold Off Thunder In Epic Battle


I’m sure that if you missed last night’s epic battle between the Thunder and the Jazz, you saw the highlights and the aftermath of it on SportsCenter this morning. That is because this was one of the best games of the NBA season up to date.

It had all of the makings of a Game 7 playoff game, as each team had its leaders step up, the game could have gone either way, and the crowd was as involved as it could be.

Even though the game featured a plethora of points by both teams, including 45 points by Kevin Durant and a career-high 42 points by Deron Williams, it is the points that were not scored that are stealing all of the headlines right now.

Of course, I am referring to the no-call on Durant’s buzzer 3-point attempt at the end of the game.

For the general NBA fan, who either caught the tail-end of the game or saw the highlights on their favorite sports wrap-up show, it is that one play that is going to stick out in their minds. They are going to question the refs, bring up Kevin Garnett‘s comments from last week, or say that the Thunder are too young to get a call like that.

However, by reducing the game to that one play, albeit it was the game’s deciding play, they are missing the entire beauty that this game displayed up to that point.

Each team had chances to pull away throughout the game, yet runs from the opposition kept this one close and exciting from beginning to end.

One example of this in particular was when the Jazz held an 11-point lead following a huge Deron Williams 3-pointer with about 3 minutes remaining in the 4th quarter. At the time, the game seemed to be pretty much signed, sealed, and delivered by the Jazz, as Williams’ shot was very uplifting, and it appeared to be the momentum-shifter that would blow the Thunder out of the water for good.

But obviously, when you are dealing with a guy with the kind of shooting ability that Kevin Durant has, the game is never over unless the clock reads zeros.

In 48 seconds, Durantula (who should be banned from the NBA for being too good) went on a 9-1 run, and the Thunder suddenly found themselves trailing by just 3 with 2 minutes remaining. What seemed like a done deal for the Jazz was now a new ball-game courtesy of KD35.

After Russell Westbrook cut the lead to just 1 following 2 free-throws, CJ Miles stepped up with an enormous 3-pointer of his own, as it looked like the Jazz would have just enough resolve to hold off the Thunder in regulation.

But again the Thunder would not give up.

Trailing by 3 with 17 seconds remaining, the Thunder got a prayer answered by Larry David’s chubby buddy, Jeff Green, as he hit a tough leaning 3-pointer to tie the game at 129. This shot proved to be the final points of regulation, as this game headed to overtime.

As you know, the overtime period was a see-saw affair, which concluded with Deron Williams‘ huge jumper from the top of the key, and the no-call on Durant that sent the Thunder out of Utah crying foul.

Now, obviously this game was a lot more than just one non-foul call on Kevin Durant. There were a bunch of plays leading up to that one play that made this game the instant classic that it was. Both teams showed that they are ready and deserving to be playoff teams, and it would surely be a treat to all NBA fans if they got to see these two teams battle it out in the first round of the playoffs. If the regular season ended today, that would be the case.

Are you ready for the playoffs?!

LT’S JAZZ NOTES

- Kevin Durant passed LeBron James as the league’s leading scorer.

- Andrei Kirilenko missed 2 out 4 games against the Thunder this season.

- Carlos Boozer had another double-double as he scored 28 points and grabbed 15 rebounds.

- Mehmet Okur had 20 points and 7 rebounds.

- The Jazz shot 81.1% from the free-throw line.

- Carlos Boozer had a left-handed dunk on Serge Ibaka that I dubbed as the dunk of the millennium at the time. CLICK HERE to check it out (Boozer Facial).

- The Jazz have won 10 straight home games (32-8 overall).

Tags: Andrei Kirilenko Carlos Boozer CJ Miles Deron Williams Jeff Green Kevin Durant Kevin Garnett Mehmet Okur Russell Westbrook