SALT LAKE CITY – When the Oklahoma City Thunder fired free throws in the second quarter, a fan of Utah Jazz, who was on his floor plan, waved his cardboard head Ricky Rubio on a stick. The stick broke in half, and Rubio's head flew to the square.
Russell Westbrook emerged from the end of the bench and went to the floor, picking up Rubio's cardboard head. He pretended to crumple it up and then grinned at the jazz fans as they played it.
After Westbrook announced that he would close Rubio after Match 3, he got ready to support it. Rubio scrambled to defend himself and slapped him as they hired himself. to go one to one.
It was on – or so it seemed. [1
Russell Westbrook and Ricky Rubio fight it all out, but Rubio gets the best of Westbrook by pulling three fouls.
When Westbrook went to the bank a minute later, Smoke smoked from him because even Mitt Romney mocked him with four fingers in the air, much like in Game 3, the jazz closed the half with a massive boost of momentum.
"We just stayed inside ourselves," said Donovan Mitchell. "We always say that the strength of our team is the strength of our team, I said this morning we are not worried about a single comment, I think if we get caught up in our own game, and Our game showed tonight that we really focused on each other and made the right games when we needed it. "
Westbrook did his mission at least statistically in the first half. Rubio had his "s —" shut off, with just six points in a 1: 5 shooting. But it was Rubio's gimmick that defeated Westbrook and used Westbrook's overloaded energy against him to bring him into trouble and neutralize his aggressiveness. After the fourth foul, Westbrook was simply not the same player he defended against his fifth.
"A little, a little bit," Westbrook said his approach changed due to bad issues. "Obviously, it's not easy to be on the ball when you can not be on the ball, but things like that happen in the game and you have to figure out how to play with them."
While the Jazz opened the game with a Dynamite third quarter (outscoring OKC 12-2 in the first three minutes), everything changed in those final minutes of the first half. Utah has a 3-1 lead after a 113-96 victory, and the thunder are officially on the ropes.
"It's not about me and him," Westbrook said when he was asked whether his aggressiveness backfired with Rubio. We are done with that. "
It's not so complicated what jazz did to thunder in the series – OKC loses a very simple mathematical problem.
Utah produces better, more consistent blows from efficiency ranges, while the thunders basically keep their fingers crossed, Even if the looks were clean – as they were for Carmelo Anthony – they will not go under. "For each ESPN Stats & Info, the thunder ran 22 minutes, 9 seconds of play time, without any help record (between baskets made at 10:33 of the second quarter and 0:24 of the third quarter), during which time they attempted nine shots with a backup, compared to 27 attempts that did not have the ability to help.
"We were aggressive. We were in attack mode, "Paul George said." We were aggressive. We missed shots. I do not think we finished a game with only five 3-hands all year round. We've missed shots. "
Billy Donovan addresses the issue of consistency following the loss of Thunder's Game 4 to Utah.
Westbrook did not own himself Billy Donovan says he's fine – or at least no injury reported – and Westbrook has been fully involved in practice and filming, but he fought again and fired 6 of 17 hit the ground for 20 points, plus 10 rebounds and 3 assists. George ended up 32 on 9 of 21, but with Anthony only 5 of 18, including 0 of 6 of 3, and with the thunder being unable to It was no coincidence that Westbrook ended up with three assists and had none in the first quarter.
There has been so much talk about jazz's playoff experience, or lack thereof, but in game 4 it was the thunder di e unwind. The intensity in the first six minutes was off the charts, with technical fouls and slight fights, but Utah held his posture while the thunder took quick shots and heavy fouls. Joe Ingles (20 points) fired in the first half with a rush of 3s, and Mitchell (33 points in 13-of-28 shooting) threw the final Heymaker.
As the thunder firsthand knows, a series does not end at 3-1. But the way jazz has outdone the thunder in the last two games makes it feel like it should. Game 5 is Wednesday in Oklahoma City, but the thunder will speak after speaking hard, but returning home with a red-faced with their season on the line.
"We have to win, nothing to do, we just have to win," said Anthony. "We can sit here and say what we have to do or what we have not done or what we have done, but it is important to have the will to win this game on Wednesday and play 6 back in Utah force there. "