Last night, the Oklahoma City Thunder lost the second game of the series against the Utah Jazz, 102-95.
Like in game one, also in game two the Thunder let the Jazz go away with an early run. After a few minutes, the scoreboard marked already a 9-0 lead for the Salt Lake City’s team. The Thunder responded well, finished the first quarter down only one point. In the second quarter, the rhythm of the game didn’t change much and the Jazz found themselves with a seven points lead at the long break.
In the third quarter, after the Jazz led 67-58, the Thunder went on a 19-0 run to take a ten point lead. However, this wasn’t enough to close strong the quarter. Utah was able to cut it to an only five points disadvantage before the last twelve minutes. Here is where the “Big Three” failed to deliver. Westbrook, George, and Anthony combined for 0-14 from the floor in the fourth quarter. Not only they missed all their shots but they took a lot of bad ones. Utah on the other end, thanks to another amazing performance by the rookie Donovan Mitchell, was able to be more effective on offense.
Series tied 1-1.
On Saturday night, Westbrook, George, and Anthony will have to do a better job with their shot selection and with the way they play on the offense. We saw this movie all season long: when Oklahoma City runs the floor, plays at its pace, and shares the ball, then the team is nearly unstoppable (see that 19-0 run in the third quarter). When they play sloppy offense, without rhythm, and with that “my turn, your turn” bad shot selection, then they throw all the previous good work away. It’s not going to happen very often that the “Big Three” shot 0-14 in the fourth quarter, so there is not yet a reason to panic.
The Thunder had problems keeping Utah away from the glasses after missing shots. This allowed the Jazz to create second point chances and slowed down the Thunder’s offensive rhythm (especially in the second quarter). Carmelo Anthony wasn’t able to stop Favors and this had a huge impact. Favors finished the game with eight offensive rebounds, Utah had fifteen in total.
After the game, Billy Donovan said that Steven Adams is not injured. However, what we saw tonight shows something different. Adams looked really uncomfortable with his right arm/hand, not only while he was shooting but also while going for the rebound he didn’t look right. His body language didn’t look right. Obviously, we’ll have to trust coach Donovan on this, and hopefully, Adams will be able to play a solid game on Saturday night.
Grant and Felton played a decent game from the bench, mostly Grant (as always lately). Abrines and Patterson didn’t impact the game at all offensively: they both shot 0-2 from the floor (0-1 3PT). Defensively I thought Abrines did an average/good job and this should count for more minutes. His shooting quality could and should open up the floor for Westbrook/Adams pick and roll which has struggled so far in the first two games.
This series is going to be a battle. These first two games reminded me of the epic series against the Grizzlies. Utah is a really really good team, and despite not having a real star (well, Donovan Mitchell is playing like one without a doubt), they play very well together. Oklahoma City will have to play on another level the next couple of games if they want to close the series as soon as possible.
- FG% 40.0, 3P% 31.4, FT% 66.7, ASSISTS 22, REBOUNDS 46, STEALS 11, TURNOVERS 13
- FG% 41.7, 3P% 31.0, FT% 61.7, ASSISTS 22, REBOUNDS 56, STEALS 9, TURNOVERS 16
Game Three will be in Utah on Saturday night, tip-off 9 P.m. CT.
Cover Photo by Layne Murdoch