The second-year forward shined on both ends of the floor, but stole the show offensively with a career-high 42 points, including 18 in the fourth quarter that helped spur a late Thunder run.
Oklahoma City (20-34) cut what was a 25-point deficit to seven after Dort went 1-for-3 from the free throw line with just under 30 seconds remaining. The 21-year-old Canadian went 6-for-10 down the stretch and reignited the team with a quick spell with 3:12 left on the clock. Dort hit the floor gassed, but still reeled off seven points, including back-to-back three-pointers before capping a 19-2 run by the Thunder with his late free throw.
Dort added seven rebounds, four steals and three assists in over 37 minutes and drew three offensive fouls. He also scored 18 points in the first quarter that helped Oklahoma City jump out to a 31-22 lead.
The Thunder’s lead was erased over the middle two quarters as the Jazz began to take over.
The Thunder were outscored 66-38 during the second and third quarters and was reigned in offensively by one of the league’s best defensive teams. The Jazz (41-14), the NBA’s top team in the standings and in defensive rating, held the Thunder to 14-for-47 shooting during those periods and under 40% for the game.
All-Star center Rudy Gobert, who could be in line for his third Defensive Player of the Year award, was a force with seven blocks and 14 rebounds, including five boards on the offensive end. He finished with 13 points in 34 minutes.
All-Star guard Mike Conley and Georges Niang also recorded double-doubles for Utah. Conley scored 15 points and dished out 14 assists while Niang scored 18 points and grabbed 10 rebounds. Bojan Bogdanovic scored a team-high 23 points. All-Star Donovan Mitchell scored 22, but was bothered by Dort’s presence throughout the night.
Second-year center Moses Brown looked raw in his battle with the veteran Gobert, but still pounded the glass and managed a double-double, finishing with a game-high 15 boards to go with 12 points. Ty Jerome added 14 points.
The Thunder return home for the second game of a back-to-back on Wednesday, hosting the Golden State Warriors (26-28) before hitting the road again for a four-game trip that starts against the Detroit Pistons (16-38) on Friday.
Oklahoma City and Golden State tip off at 8 p.m. C.T. at Chesapeake Energy Arena.