Durant, Thunder hold off late Jazz rally for 101-98 win
Kevin Durant scored 42 points and Oklahoma City held off a fourth-quarter comeback by the Jazz as the Thunder opened the NBA season with a 101-98 victory over Utah on Wednesday night at EnergySolutions Arena.
Alec Burks lead Utah with 24 points. Derrick Favors added 15, but Reggie Jackson's two free throws with 11.1 points left proved to the the difference.
The Jazz got off to a quick start. They made their first three shots and all five starters scored in the opening 5 1/2 minutes.
Utah built a quick 18-12 lead, but Oklahoma City rallied to tie it, 29-29, behind 11 points by Durant and four in the final two minutes by Derek Fisher.
In the second quarter, the Thunder owned a 34-31 lead when Gordon Hayward picked up his third foul. Instead of falling back, however, Mike Harris came off the bench and started a 9-2 run that kept Utah in the game.
It was 57-48 lead at halftime.
Oklahoma City built a 79-64 lead late in the third quarter, but the Jazz held the Thunder without a field goal for over three minutes and trailed, 81-73, heading into the final 12 minutes.
In the fourth quarter, Utah got as close a 90-89 on a steal and dunk by Hayward with 4:34 left, but the Jazz could not overtake Oklahoma City.