Thunder journal: Deonte Burton plays his first game on an NBA contract
SALT LAKE CITY -- Deonte Burton suited up Monday for his first game on a fulltime NBA contract. He played in just the final minute of the Thunder’s 98-89 win over the Jazz, but it was still a notable occasion.
Burton spent the Thunder’s previous games this season on a two-way contract. Burton played 23 games with the Thunder as a two-way player was nearing his 45-day limit with the NBA squad.
“It’s hard when you have a two-way guy, especially when they’re up and down,” Thunder coach Billy Donovan said. “I think for Deonte, he had some good experiences playing with us and then there were some times where he wasn’t playing and I think they wanted to get him some more playing time and opportunities to play and continually build out his development and his growth.
“I think it’s hard for a player to really grow with the limited amount of practices that an NBA team has so they’re kind of traveling and the do get a chance to do some individual workouts and that stuff’s good.”
Patrick Patterson made his second appearance for the Thunder since the team added Markieff Morris at the All-Star break. He played four minutes Monday.
Patterson replaced Morris in the fourth quarter, when the second unit power forward left the game for neck soreness. He did not return. Morris was out with a neck injury for almost two months before coming to the Thunder.
Patterson also played for five minutes against the 76ers two weeks ago.
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The Jazz shot just 14-of-42 in the first half (33 percent), and the Thunder held the Jazz to just 37 points before the intermission. It was the fourth time this season that OKC has held an opponent to under 40 points in a half.
The Jazz finished the game shooting 36.4 percent from the floor.
Not so foul
The Thunder sent the Jazz to the free throw line 17 times, after giving their opponents over 45 free throws each in of its previous two games. On Monday, the Thunder took more free throws (27) than the Jazz, and made them at a 70.4 percent clip.