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Jazz Outrun Thunder in OKC, Tie Series 1-1


It was a game of runs on Wednesday night in Oklahoma City, as the Thunder looked to take a 2-0 lead in its best-of-7 series with the Jazz. Unfortunately for OKC, it was Utah that got in the last — and deciding — stretch of exceptional play.

Following a back-and-forth first half that ended with the Jazz up 53-46, the Thunder went streaking in the third quarter. After Rudy Gobert hit two free throws to put Utah up 67-58 with 6:46 to go in the third, OKC broke off a 19-0 run that put the Thunder up 77-67 with 1:02 remaining in the frame. The Jazz closed the gap to five entering the final 12 minutes of action, but momentum favored the home team.

Things fell apart in the fourth, as Donovan Mitchell and Gobert came alive and punished the Thunder defense with an 18-3 run to open up. The Thunder started 0-of-9 from the field and shot 6-of-28 (21.4 percent) for the quarter. OKC routinely took bad shots after very little offensive movement, a recurring issue for this squad. All told, Utah outscored OKC 28-16 in the fourth, escaping with a 102-95 victory.

Full Highlights:

Russell Westbrook led the way for the Thunder with 19 points, 9 rebounds, and 13 assists. Paul George added 18 points and 10 rebounds. Carmelo Anthony had 17 points and 9 rebounds. However, when the game was hanging in the balance, the OK3 combined to shoot 0-of-14 in the fourth quarter. That hurts.

The Jazz — led by Mitchell’s 28 points, 22 points from Ricky Rubio, and 20 points and 16 rebounds from Derrick Favors — has knotted the series 1-1 as the series shifts back to Utah. With homecourt advantage no longer a thing, the Thunder will look to steal momentum back in Saturday’s Game 3.



40: OKC shot 40 percent on the evening, compared to 41.7 percent for Utah.

31: Both teams shot 31 percent from three-point range.

66.7: The Thunder shot 12-of-18 from the line, good for just 66.7 percent.

-10: The Jazz won 56-46 on the glass, including 15-10 on the offensive end.

-11: Utah turned offensive rebounds into second-chance opportunities, outscoring the Thunder 20-9 in that category. This was a backbreaker.

16 & 29: OKC turned the ball over 16 times, resulting in 29 points for the Jazz.

-3: The Jazz won 15-12 in transition.

35-18: Utah outscored OKC 35-18 after the Thunder took a 10-point lead with 1:02 remaining in the third quarter.

12 & 10: There were 12 lead changes and 10 ties. The Jazz took the lead for good off a Rubio three-pointer with 4:02 remaining.


Not a great night (understatement) for Russell Westbrook, Paul George, and Carmelo Anthony. Their final stat lines:

Westbrook: 19 pts, 9 reb, 13 ast, 7/19 FG, 3 TO, -5

Westbrook was 7-of-15 entering the fourth quarter, having scored 17 points in a quiet outing. He then went 0-of-4 in the fourth quarter, scoring just two points on a pair of free throws. He was thoroughly outplayed by Mitchell down the stretch.

George: 18 pts, 10 reb, 3 blk, 6/21 FG, 4/12 3P, -8

Playoff P failed to show up in this one, as George cooled off tremendously after a nuclear Game 1. He went an abysmal 0-of-7 in the fourth quarter, failing to score any points whatsoever with the game in the balance. If there’s any positive, it’s that he logged 41 minutes and didn’t seem bothered by the hip contusion he suffered in Game 1.

Melo: 17 pts, 9 reb, 6/18 FG, 2/9 3P, +4

Melo was 6-of-14 after three quarters, piecing together what appeared to be another unspectacular, yet acceptable, performance. All that went to the wayside in the final 12 minutes, as he shot 0-of-4 in the fourth and didn’t record any points. Making matters worse, he missed two three-pointers in the final minute that would have given OKC a fighting chance. Forgetful evening otherwise, but, you know, here we are.

OK3 highlights:

Playoff Mitchell

Donovan Mitchell was having a quiet night for most of the game, getting harassed by Corey Brewer for three quarters. However, after finding a bit of rhythm to close the third, he took over in the fourth.

Mitchell shot 4-of-9 in the final frame, scoring 13 points and spearheading the Jazz run that broke the Thunder’s back. He finished with 28 points and 6 rebounds — even overcoming the fact that George was switched onto him defensively with about six minutes to play.

His highlights:

The kid is goooood.


Big Kiwi. Steven Adams finished with 9 points and 7 rebounds, wrapping up his night as a -10 in 22 minutes of action. He fouled out late in the fourth after struggling with foul trouble all game. Rudy Gobert posted 13 points, 15 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 blocks, and 2 steals — again getting the best of Adams in this match-up.

Corey & JG. Corey Brewer posted 11 points on 4-of-8 shooting, finishing as a +9. Jerami Grant logged some important minutes due to Adams’ foul trouble, dropping 13 points and wrapping up his night as a +1 in 30 minutes.

No Bueno. Alex Abrines scored 11 points in Game 1. He was held scoreless in 15 minutes tonight.

The Other Guys. Five Jazz scored in double-figures: Mitchell (28), Rubio (22 — including 5-of-8 from downtown), Favors (22 — his 8 offensive rebounds having equal, if not greater, importance), Gobert (13), and Jonas Jerebko (10).

All in All. It was a really ugly night for the Thunder all around. Outside of the 19-0 run late in the third quarter, there was very little to get excited about. All those contested jumpers that went down in Game 1 most certainly

did not

drop in Game 2. If OKC is going to right the ship in Salt Lake City, the offense must find a way to generate some cleaner looks + actually make the open shots that do come around. On the defensive end, it’s all about slowing Donovan Mitchell and limiting the damage Utah is doing on the offensive glass/in the paint.