Mitchell already put together an NBA ROY-worthy season, and even though the Jazz had earned the 5-seed and had a good enough team to compete with Oklahoma City, most of us expected the Thunder to advance in a hard-fought series.
The Oklahoma City Thunder emerged from the jaws of defeat and elimination, pulling off a huge second-half rally to deny the Utah Jazz in game five of their Western Conference first-round National Basketball Association playoff series. Thanks to George's clutch 34 points and eight rebounds. Everything was rolling early as Jae Crowder drained six threes to finish with 27 points off the bench, Donovan Mitchell added 23 points, Joe Ingles scored 16 points while Ricky Rubio chipped in with 10 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists.
Game 5 will be played on Wednesday in Oklahoma City, where the Jazz, holding a 3-1 lead, have a chance to close the series out.
As tough of a loss as this is, the Jazz are confident they will be able to bounce back at home in Game 6 Friday night. OKC had never coalesced throughout the season; they were meant to lose to a unified squad that was simply a better team right? "We'll watch the film and figure out what went wrong".
When Westbrook stopped and popped a deep three to tie the game at 78-78 late in the third quarter - capping a 32-7 run that came out of nowhere like an RKO - it became clear that we were watching something truly special. Westbrook scored 33 points in the second half, and George had 21 after the break. Overall, the Jazz have received a steady contribution throughout their lineup with six players averaging double-digits in points in this series.
Russ Fined $10K for Game 4 Actions
Oklahoma City averages 18.9 points off turnovers per game, which ranks first in the National Basketball Association . The Jazz's average margin of victory in their last five games has been 4.0, down from 4.4 for the season.
That's free-agent-to-be Paul George. Carmelo Anthony has struggled, shooting below 39% in four of five games, and he played a series-low 25 minutes in game five. Not only that, but 5-of-9 from three-point range is just what the doctor ordered.
Forward Paul George was a decent supporting act, scoring 34 points while also claiming eight rebounds, playing 45 of a possible 48 minutes.
Oklahoma City was finished, done, ousted - except no one told Westbrook and George.
They pulled away from the Timberwolves in the thrid quarter led by Clint Capela's 26 points and James Harden's 24 points. And why must OKC still fight off elimination for, at best, two more games this series, which now shifts to Salt Lake City? And though it technically isn't win-or-die for the Jazz, it sure feels like it, and truly is for the Thunder.
The problem with trying to recreate the effort is that there are aspects of a 25-point comeback that only happen once in a blue moon for any team.