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Oklahoma City couldn’t figure out the second half once again. Utah used an impressive 13-0 run to put the Thunder out to pasture with a 115-102 win in Game 3 on Saturday night.

Utah now leads the series 2-1. In NBA history, teams who are up 2-1, win the series 79.8 percent of the time according to whowins.com.

In a game where the Thunder led by 10, it really never felt like a big lead. The crowd was electric and the Thunder folded in times of adversity within this game.

It started with Russell Westbrook. His 5-of-17 performance was god awful and his decision making was even more questionable. Vivint Smart brings out either the best or worst in Westbrook. In two other games in this building, Westbrook was either mesmerizing as he was on Dec. 23 with a 27-point triple-double or as disappointing as he was on Oct. 21, a 2-of-11 for six points and a lot of turnovers. One was a double-digit win and the other was a double-digit loss.

Oklahoma City saw Utah take a 58-53 lead into halftime but it was a the comeback to start the second half that game Thunder fans hope. A Carmelo Anthony three put the Thunder up 63-60 with 9:57 left in the third. It appeared the Thunder had figured something out. It capped off a 10-0 run.

Then, Utah would respond with a 9-0 run of their own, retaking the lead for good.

The Jazz closed the third quarter on a 29-12 run, outscoring and defending like madmen. They took it to Oklahoma City. Hit them right in their mouth in a physical ability, that not many teams can match with what Oklahoma City does physically. Utah did and did it again. With the dust settled, they were up by 14 after three quarters.

The Thunder made a run, cut it to a seven-point deficit with 9:47 on a Raymond Felton jumper. Utah called a timeout and then destroyed the Thunder. Utah would open on a 13-0 run to go up by 20.

Paul George led the Thunder in scoring. Westbrook struggled. Anthony while being efficient was really a defensive liability. Utah made the Thunder pay in every way possible on Saturday night.

Game 4 is on Monday night at 9:30 p.m. That game will be on TNT and the Thunder need that game as they’ll face a 3-1 deficit with a loss. We’ll have your entire coverage on our social medias and right here on Thunder Digest.

Keys to the Game

Pace: D

Utah slowed it down and really played at their pace, which you could see in the way Oklahoma City played, they struggled with how slow it was. They tried to hurry things up, caused turnovers and bad shot selections. Oklahoma City cannot let the Jazz do this again. Oklahoma City has to up the tempo.

Rebounding: F

Oklahoma City only grabbed 33 rebounds. THIRTY-THREE. It’s their second lowest rebounding total of the season. (32 against Portland in back in November). Utah didn’t miss a lot of shots and when they did, Utah pulled down 13 offensive boards. It was a recipe for disaster.

Share the ball: F

Only 17 assists on 37 made buckets. Absurdly low ratio. Oklahoma City needs to share the ball a little bit more. We’re looking for 22-23 assists, that would be perfect for this team. That’s approximately 13 extra points. Not that it would’ve mattered with this game but would’ve made a big difference most games.

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Chuck Chaney

Founder & Editor-in-Chief.
Member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.