The Thunder wrapped up its season-series with the Jazz on Saturday night in Salt Lake City, leading throughout and leaving with a 103-89 victory. The win gives Oklahoma City a 3-1 advantage over its Northwest Division rival and seventh win in the last eight games.
Russell Westbrook led the way with 27 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists — his eleventh triple-double of the season. Paul George was also instrumental in one of his better performances in recent memory, as he contributed 26 points, 6 steals, and 5 rebounds.
The win moves the Thunder to 18-15 on the season ahead of the Christmas Day showdown with Houston. OKC will enter on a four-game winning streak.
Now some notes.
81.3: The Thunder shot 13/16 from the free throw line, good for 81.3 percent. This was a much-needed boost in efficiency from the stripe but I would’ve liked to have seen more attempts.
15-6: The Thunder won 15-6 on the offensive glass and 45-37 on the boards as a whole.
9: Nine steals for the Thunder tonight — six of which came from Paul George.
8: Just eight turnovers in the game for OKC. That’ll do.
It wasn’t perfect but this may have been one of the better OK3 games in terms of all three playing decently well. The individual stat lines:
Westbrook: 27 pts, 10 reb, 10 ast, 11/24 FG, 2/3 3P, +12
George: 26 pts, 6 stl, 10/17 FG, 4/7 3P, +13
Melo: 16 pts, 6 reb, 6/18 FG, 4/10 3P, +9
Westbrook was solid but Paul George was the story. He was aggressive on offense and efficient from beyond the arc. The six steals were absolutely menacing and he was superb on defense yet again. He’s a bit of an offensive mystery on a game-to-game basis but this was a great game for number 13.
Melo cooled off from last night’s 7/12 outing from downtown but didn’t have a bad game. He was 2/8 in the midrange — so that’s still a thing. Him taking so many three-pointers is fine if he cuts back on the low quality looks from elsewhere. This is moving in the right direction.
Big Kiwi. Nice game for Steven Adams. He wrapped up the evening with 12 points and 9 rebounds.
Donovan Mitchell is a problem. The rookie was huge for the Jazz, finishing with 29 points on 12/16 shooting. He’s going to be good for a long time.
Huestis Over Grant & 2Pat? Josh Huestis was the first man off the bench and appears to be gaining favor with Billy Donovan. While Donovan explained his rotation rationale before the game, it’s still problematic for a variety of reasons. The Thunder declining to pick up his option — and now playing him more than Patrick Patterson — does not make a great deal of sense.
Immediately after the game, Donovan Mitchell received a lot of love from Russell Westbrook, Paul George and Carmelo Anthony. Russ never does anything like this, so it speaks volumes on what Mitchell is doing. Cool moment.
Paul George discusses the win with Nick Gallo. Via OKC Thunder.