By Justin Hite, The Sports Xchange – UPI
OKLAHOMA CITY — Russell Westbrook had a double-double before the end of the third quarter and finished with 24 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists — just shy of his 11th triple-double of the season — as the Oklahoma City Thunder reached a winning record for the first time since Halloween with a 107-79 victory against the Utah Jazz.
Carmelo Anthony had 18 points and seven rebounds, and Paul George added 18 for the Thunder, who have won four of its past five games. Oklahoma City’s eight wins through the first three weeks of December match its total through the first two months of the season.
Utah (14-18) ended its six-game road trip with another loss — its 13th in 16 games away from home this season. Rodney Hood scored 17 points to lead the Jazz, who have lost seven of the past eight overall and 14-straight road games against Oklahoma City (16-15).
The Thunder raced out to a 19-3 lead, holding Utah to just one basket through the first 7:23 of the game. Westbrook, who finished with just one turnover, scored 14 during the game-opening run.
Steven Adams returned to the starting lineup after missing the past two games in concussion protocol, pulling down nine rebounds and scoring 11 points. Anthony was coming off a season-low four points — his lowest scoring output since February 2012.
Alec Burks added 17 points and Thabo Sefolosha scored 12 for the Jazz, who trailed the entire game.
Defense keyed the victory as Oklahoma City forced seven Jazz turnovers in the first 10 minutes and 19 for the game — scoring 28 points off those miscues. The Thunder, who came into the game with the NBA’s third-best scoring defense, allowed just nine first-quarter points — their third-best single-quarter defensive performance of the season — and held the Jazz to 35.6 percent from the field for the game.
Utah returns home for a two-game stop before playing six of its next eight games on the road. Oklahoma City continues its homestand with five of its next six games at the Chesapeake Energy Arena.
NOTES: Utah G Donovan Mitchell missed Wednesday’s game with a toe contusion. Mitchell leads all rookies with 17.7 points per game and set the Jazz single-game rookie scoring record this season with 41 points. … With four minutes to play in the third quarter, Oklahoma City reached its largest lead of the season 79-46 (33 points). … Oklahoma City connected for three alley-oops in the second quarter as Westbrook found Jerami Grant, Anthony and Adams for highlight-reel slams. … Utah coach Quin Snyder was called for a technical foul with 40 seconds to play in the first half. The ensuing free throws pushed the Thunder lead to 17 points. It was Snyder’s second technical of the season.