Russell Westbrook could’ve literally pulled out his own heart and laid it on the court. That would be the only way to describe the reigning MVP’s performance on Friday night.
It wasn’t enough.
Russell Westbrook scored 46 points and it wasn’t enough as the rest of the “Big Three” were left in a layover in Denver. Paul George was fouled on a three by Rudy Gobert with 10.9 seconds remaining but it was deemed a no call. Utah iced teh game, holding on 96-91.
Carmelo Anthony and George combined for 12 points on 5-of-23 and 0-of-6 from three. George was abysmal, 2-of-16 from the field, second worst shooting performance of his playoff career and it happened when Oklahoma City needed him the most. In fact, George had more turnovers (6) than he did points (5).
George was passive, giving up easy shots to teammates with lesser talent. Numerous times in the third and fourth quarter, George deferred to Raymond Felton of all people.
Despite the poor performance, it was Westbrook who put the team on his back. He attacked the rim and got to the rim. He jacked up ill-advised three-pointers that went in like flames on NBA Jam. Without Westbrook’s performance in Game 6, Oklahoma City gets blown out.
Utah took an 86-73 lead with 7:04 left in regulation. Westbrook hit a pull up jumper and then found Jerami Grant in the corner for a three-pointer, cutting the deficit to seven. Raymond Felton continued the run with a big three-pointer, bringing Oklahoma City to within four. Westbrook jacked up a huge three with 1:28 remaining to bring Oklahoma City within one. That’s when the wild time happened.
The Thunder took five shots in a span of 33 seconds, each rimming out and being tipped out and back to another Thunder player by an array of players. Westbrook missed three of the five shots. Then, after a review, George was contacted by Gobert but no call.
Westbrook finished with 46 points on 18-of-43 and 7-of-19 from three, with 10 rebounds and five assists. Westbrook scored 31 points in the second half. Westbrook set a new franchise playoff record in 3-point attempts for Game (19), half (15) and quarter (8). Westbrook also set a franchise record for makes in a half (6).
Adams had 19 points and 16 rebounds.
All of this happened because Donovan Mitchell, a superb rookie, went bananas in the third quarter. He scored 22 of his 38 points in third quarter before getting into foul trouble. Utah outscored Oklahoma City by nine in the eight in the court and it really put the Thunder behind the eight-ball, causing the Thunder to see a 78-70 deficit going into the fourth.
The Thunder led 35-26 in the third quarter, their largest of the game and it appeared Oklahoma City would be in control going into halftime. However, Utah closed the quarter on a 15-6 run as it was tied 41-all at the break.
Oklahoma City’s season ends 48-34 and being eliminated 4-2 in the first round. It’s the second straight season the Thunder were eliminated in the first half.
Keys to the Game
Second quarter: C
Utah outscored the Thunder by four in the quarter and really closed strong. Oklahoma City seemed to have all of the momentum but Utah found their way back into the game. The Thunder needed to close the quarter strong but didn’t. It was deja vu of Games 2-4.
Second chance scoring: C
The Thunder scored 15 second chance points. Utah outscored Oklahoma City 19-15 on the second chance points. It’s easily the most the Thunder scored in a loss this series. However, they gave up 10 of Utah’s 19 in the second half. Oklahoma City seemed to struggle on the boards in the second half, despite winning the rebounding battle.
Big Three: F
Outside of Russell Westbrook, the Big Three should no longer have that title. Oklahoma City’s supporting cast for Westbrook was abysmal. I hate the Big Three name.We invite you to follow Thunder Digest on Twitter and like Thunder Digest on Facebook. Don't forget to subsribe on Youtube! Our Podcast is on iTunes and on Stitcher. We also have a Thunder Digest Instagram account if you love fun Thunder photography!