Shutting down the Utah Jazz offense is proving easier said than done for the Oklahoma City Thunder.
For a second straight game, a late second-quarter surge by Utah carried over into the second half and it allowed the Jazz to pull away for a 113-96 victory Monday night. The Jazz used a 20-3 run spanning the end of the second quarter and the start of the third to break open the game.
The Thunder opened a 26-19 lead late in the first quarter when Carmelo Anthony capped a string of three straight Oklahoma City baskets with an alley-oop layup. They held onto the lead for much of the second quarter until Utah finally woke up on offense.
Starting with Gobert cutting to the rim for a dunk with 3:45 left in the second quarter, the Jazz scored on 11 straight possessions. Ingles fueled the surge by hitting three consecutive 3s to put Utah in front 58-52 before halftime.
“These guys are great at telling me to shoot it as much as possible within the flow of our team and our offense,” Ingles said.
Desperate to break out of a slump, Marcell Ozuna resorted to changing lumber.
The move worked wonders for the St. Louis Cardinals’ outfielder.
Using a bat borrowed from teammate Jose Martinez, Ozuna hit a tiebreaking two-run single, and Michael Wacha won his fourth straight start as the Cardinals beat the New York Mets 9-1 on Wednesday night.
“This is something for him to build off of,” Matheny said. “It was big. This should trend towards good things in the future. Marcell is getting there.”
Wacha (4-1) gave up one run on five hits over six innings. He struck out eight and walked one. He is 4-0 with 2.78 ERA over his last four starts. His only loss this season came in a 6-2 setback to the Mets on March 31.
“I was able to put the fastball where I wanted to,” Wacha said. “Got some sweet misses.”
Wacha was just as proud of his safety squeeze bunt that brought in Paul DeJong and pushed the lead to 4-1 in the fourth. Wacha also scored two runs in the game, “for the first time since high school,” he joked.