Durant, Thunder rout Jazz 111-89
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) Kevin Durant quickly answered any questions about his hamstring injury.
Durant had 27 points and six rebounds, and the Oklahoma City Thunder beat the Utah Jazz 111-89 on Monday night.
It was Durant's first game since he strained his left hamstring in the second quarter of a 125-101 victory at Washington on Nov. 10. The All-Star forward played the whole first quarter against Utah and scored 11 points.
''When I was ready to get back on the court physically, I was there putting my work in making sure my body was ready, my fundamentals were right,'' Durant said. ''I just have the mindset that, no matter what, I just pick up where I left off. I think that is what separates good players from great players, is that mindset.''
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.
The Jazz entered with the No. 2 scoring defense in the league, allowing 92. 4 points per game.
''I don't feel like we've had the energy and focus that we need to have,'' Jazz coach Quin Snyder said about their defense. ''So, that leads to breakdowns. Sometimes energy can kind of make up for breakdowns.
''We're making dumb plays on defense that I know we know not to make. And it's just a lack of concentration collectively.''
Thunder: Oklahoma City is now 1-3 in the second night of back-to-backs. ... The Thunder had 10 blocked shots. ... Dion Waiters had 12 points, six assists, three rebounds and four steals.
Jazz: The 40 second-quarter points are the most allowed in a single quarter by the Jazz this season. ... Gobert left for the locker room early in the fourth quarter with a tailbone contusion. He had no blocked shots for just the second time in his 11 games this season. ... The 22-point loss is the worst of the season. The previous was 16 against the Nuggets on Nov. 5.
Thunder coach Billy Donovan said they were careful not to rush Durant back.
''The last thing you want with a hamstring injury is for it to be a prolonged thing to deal with,'' Donovan said. ''The feeling was, so early in the season, let's just get him completely recovered and feeling good. The medical staff really feels like he has made incredible progress. He's pain free, feels good.''
PUBLIC ENEMY NO. 1
Thunder center Enes Kanter was repeatedly booed throughout the game. Jazz fans have been anti-Kanter since he asked for a trade days before last season's trade deadline, and then was shipped to Oklahoma City.
''I think I'm over it and think they're over it, too,'' Kanter said before the game. ''It's their choice, they can boo me or not. I can't control it.
Trey Burke visited Utah Lieutenant Governor Spencer Cox at the state capitol in Salt Lake City on Monday, He initiated the visit and wanted to discuss opportunities to help the community.
''Being that light in the community rather than just thinking about basketball,'' Burke said. ''Bottom line is just about the homeless people you see around Utah. Helping out in the homeless shelters and some of the kids that aren't going to be able to really enjoy the holidays like they should.''
''He steps over half court and he's in range,'' Snyder said about Durant. ''That's an adjustment.''
Thunder: Hosts the Nets on Wednesday.
Jazz: Visits the Clippers on Wednesday.