Tag - OKC

Tyreke Evans and OKC have mutual interest

While Oklahoma City fans were celebrating the Paul George commitment and then cringing over the large salary cap, General Manager Sam Presti was busy workin in Los Angeles on Sunday.

Tyreke Evans, an unrestricted free agent, met with numerous teams in Los Angeles on Sunday afternoon, including with your Oklahoma City Thunder.

Evans, 28, was the 2009-10 Rookie of the Year with the Kings but since ten has seen his career go on an up-and-down roller coaster ride. He’s played with three teams, Sacramento, New Orleans and Memphis. His time in Memphis was weird as he sat out numerous games around the trade deadline as the Grizzlies were looking to move him to a more competitive team.

Last season with the Grizzlies, Evans averaged 19.4 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 5.3 assists in 30 minutes per game. While he wouldn’t be a 30 minute per game with the Thunder. He would provide an instant offensive threat off the bench.

Evans shot 40 percent from three and 45.2 percent from the field. His 78.5 percent free throw shooting percentage is second best of his career

It’s unknown what type of payment Evans would receive. Last season, he was paid 3.2 million with the Grizzlies. When he was in New Orleans, he made over $10 million per season. There’s a feeling Evans could sign a one-year deal and hit the market in 2019 when teams have a lot more free agency money.

Other teams interested in Evans’ services: the Lakers, the Grizzlies, the Hornets, and the Warriors.

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Peake & Roll Podcast E97: #MeloRevengeTour2k19

Chuck Chaney and George Stoia hop on the Peake & Roll to discuss the Paul George signing. George pitches his ultimate project yet, the Melo Revenge Tour 2k19.

2:00 Are we all recovered from the PG news? Hungover?
3:15 LeBron James to LA without Paul George
4:45 Lance “whisper in my ear” Stephenson to the Lakers?
5:10 The breakdown of what happened with the party (please don’t judge us on how we say NAS)
6:25 Where were you when PG made his announcement
8:50 SALTY LAKER FANS TEARS ARE MY FUEL
10:15 Whataburger and Frontier City is better than Los Angeles
13:45 George will fight over you over QuikTrip
15:00 Chuck & George get off topic and talk about jobs and HS Football
21:37 Hashtag Melo Revenge Tour 2k19
25:01 did PG and LeBron make their decisions a long time ago?
26:30 ANDRE ROBERSON IS UNDER RATED
28:45 Let Melo Start. We have a solution
30:00 Nerlans NOEL!
32:30 we love you Felton
34:00 OKC learned from their mistakes
36:00 Finally, a superstar chooses OKC
38:30 George needs to go to 8-mile
39:30 we miss you Brady

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George needs OKC, just as OKC needs George

Sure, Russell Westbrook’s logo is on the building. However, It’s definitely a the final presentation of a year long attempt to woo Paul George.

George, who’s a free agent in about an hour, will have his choice of teams. It’s really come down to Oklahoma City and the Los Angeles Lakers.

Oklahoma City traded for George a year ago, knowing full well that he could opt out and head to Los Angeles. The big risk, big reward of Presti’s decision is about to find a conclusion here in a matter of hours or days. By July 6, at the latest, we’ll have a position to whether or not trading assets in Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis paid off.

Over the last couple of months, the smoke signals have been going out for a bit. George is leaning toward re-signing with the Thunder. George, who was named an all-star in his first season with the Thunder, said he didn’t play up to his potential in his three-part documentary on ESPN. He understand how good the Thunder were for those two months. From Dec. 1-Jan. 27 (date of Andre Roberson’s injury). The potential for greatness is there.

On the other hand, George grew up in Los Angeles. He said he didn’t pretend he was playing for the Pacers or the Thunder. He pretended to hit game winners for the Lakers. They’re always in the back of his mind. Rightfully so. Everyone wants to find a way to win their hometown a championship. However, as you get older you realize the priorities change. For George, that’s happening. While the Lakers would ultimately be his go home spot. The Thunder currently provide a better opportunity to win a championship. Playing next to a former MVP in Russell Westbrook, George’s percentages skyrocketed into career highs.

George wants to win a ring. While LeBron James going to Los Angeles could help that cause. It’s still Oklahoma City. In the backroads of Arcadia, Oklahoma. Right down the road from the redbarn and from Pops, George is going to get a final pitch. He’s going to realize Russell Westbrook and the Oklahoma City Thunder are his best bet to take down the Warriors and climb the elusive ladder to win a championship.

Paul George fits Oklahoma City like a glove, from personality to play. George might not be KD. What he is though, is a quality person and player that will help the Thunder finally get out of the first round and hopefully back to the finals.

If George doesn’t even give the Lakers an interview, who does that say more about, the Thunder or the Lakers? Oklahoma City has been through a lot. They deserve this verbal commitment tonight.

Oklahoma City needs George.

George, if he’s smart, should need Oklahoma City.

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For once, the comeback was on Oklahoma City’s side

There have been many meltdowns in Thunder history and some of the biggest ones were by the Thunder.

We all know of the Warriors meltdown in 2016. Oklahoma City led by as many as 13, but felt like 23. Klay Thompson went bananas and the Thunder were forced into a Game 6.

In many ways, last night was the opposite of that. Oklahoma City made the comeback and all seemed right. It was almost the monkey off the Thunder’s back.

Here are all of the greatest comebacks and collapses in the playoffs by 15 or more with the Thunder (because of the 15-point mark, the Warriors loss was not added).

Collapses

2017 first round, Game 2: Houston (15)

OKC 109
HOU 113
April 19, 2017

This collapse is one of those that’s not really a collapse but fits within the arbitrary parameters we’ve chosen. Oklahoma City went up 28-13 on the Rockets with 3:23 left in the first quarter. The Thunder held their own in double digits for a good portion of the game. The Thunder held a 12-point lead late into the third but the bench fell through and Houston had the lead less than four minutes into the fourth and the rest is history.

2012 NBA Finals, Game 4 – Miami (17)

OKC 99
MIA 104
June 19, 2012

This, like the previous meltdown, happened in the first quarter. This is the second real playoff meltdown. This one unfortunately came in the NBA Finals. Oklahoma City jumped up 27-12 with 2:28 on a Nick Collison bucket. Oklahoma City led 33-16 with about 20 seconds to go in the first but Miami went on a 15-0 run to pull within 33-32 with 8:30 left in the second. Oklahoma City was able to hold off the Heat until middle of the third. However, Miami took the lead and would never trail again.

2013 second round, Game 4 – Grizzlies (17)

OKC   97
MEM 103
OT – May 13, 2013

A Russell Westbrook-less Thunder team, trailed 2-1 in a Memphis showdown. They took a 43-26 lead mid-second quarter and it appeared the Thunder were on their way. However, the Grizzlies’ comeback was on the back on a 23-9 run. It wasn’t until the end of the third quarter that we saw Memphis come back and finally take the lead. No one led by more than three in the final 10 minutes of regulation, with the leads going back and forth. Oklahoma City never led in overtime.

2014 second round, Game 4 – Clippers (22)

OKC 99
LAC 101
May 11, 2014

This is the largest blown playoff lead in Thunder history. A 22-point loss to the Chris Paul and the LA Clippers. This was the first in three straight games with double-digit blown leads. Luckily, Oklahoma City was on the winning side on the other two. If you told me though, Oklahoma City was going to take a 29-7 lead in the playoffs, I would’ve guaranteed a Thunder victory. That wasn’t the case this night. Oklahoma City’s 16-point lead in the fourth quarter was evaporated

2011 Western Conference Finals, Game 4 – Dallas (15)

DAL  112
OKC 105
OT – May 23, 2011

This one… this one is one of the more painful. Kevin Durant hit a jumper and Oklahoma City went up by 15 with 5:06 left in the fourth quarter. It seemed Oklahoma City was going to equalize the series. Oklahoma City went 1-of-9 down the stretch, letting Dallas outscore the Thunder 17-2 to force overtime. Durant missed a 30-footer to force overtime. I still have nightmares of this game.

Comebacks

2014 second round, Game 5 – Clippers (15)

LAC 104
OKC 105

May 13, 2014

Remember this photo? Yeah, from that game. Westbrook draining three free throws with 6.4 seconds left while Durant cannot stomach to watch them go through the net. Oklahoma City overcame a 15-point deficit, which was the patented first quarter deficit. What made this game so special was the Thunder’s ability to overcome a 101-94 deficit with 49 seconds remaining. Durant hit a three. Clippers missed a jumper. Westbrook stole a pass from Chris Paul. Then, Paul fouled Westbrook from three, hit hit all three with 6.4 seconds left to win the game. LA never got a shot off due to fantastic Thunder defense.

2014 second round, Game 6 – Clippers (16)

OKC 104
LAC   98
May 15, 2014

Durant was once a vital member of this team and showed out, scoring 39 points and pulling down 16 rebounds. LA grabbed a 16-point lead a couple of times in the first half with 7:28 left in the first half. The Thunder came back with a 13-2 run, pulling within five. Though, LA held a 7-point lead with 2:53 left in the third. Oklahoma City with the combination of Durant and Westbrook, fueled Oklahoma City’s comeback. A 13-4 that bled into the fourth quarter gave Oklahoma City lead for good. Oklahoma City pushed their lead to as many as 11 in the final minutes of the fourth.

2012 Western Conference Finals, Game 6 – Spurs (18)

SA     99
OKC 107
June 6, 2012

Westbrook and Durant combined for 33 second half points as Oklahoma City overcame an 18-point deficit. San Antonio led throughout the first half by double digits. San Antonio led by double digits for half of the game. Oklahoma City, powered by their two all-stars fueled a comeback and a march onto their first ever NBA Finals. San Antonio had no answer for either players shots. It was a nice change of pace with how the series started, the Thunder falling back 2-0.

2011 second round, Game 4 – Memphis (18)

OKC 133
MEM 123
3OT – May 9, 2011

One of the greatest games in Thunder history. Oklahoma City overcame an 18-point deficit and avoided a 3-1 series hole. Memphis took an 18-point lead in the second quarter, OJ Mayo (!!) put them up by 18. The thunder had pulled with four by halftime. Oklahoma City took their first lead in the second half but Mike Conley hit a big three, sending the game into the first overtime. Oklahoma City blew multiple seven-point leads. In the first overtime, it was Greivis Vasquez who naield a three to tie it up. Durant bricked a chance on a game winner, sending it to a second overtime. Westbrook tied the game up with 30 seconds to go but both teams combined for four misses, sending it to a third overtime. That’s where Oklahoma City took over. Durant hit a jumper with 30 seconds left to put Oklahoma City up by eight. Dequan Cook sank free throws to give OKC a 10-point victory.

2018 first round, Game 5 – Utah (25)

Utah 99
OKC 107
April 25, 2018

You saw it. It was tied for the largest second half comeback in NBA playoff history. It was the fourth largest comeback in NBA playoff history. Oklahoma City only had one turnover once they started their comeback, having to be nearly perfect to get the victory and live to fight another day.

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Jazz Meltdown! 4.25.18

The Oklahoma City Thunder made a historic comeback and sent their first round series with the Utah Jazz back to Salt Lake City for Game 6. Jazz fants went from cocky, making Hamilton the Musical jokes, to melting down with all of the meltdowns. They gave Westbrook actual credit. That’s weird. Enjoy!

  • This game is gravy.
  • Tonight is the Crowder game
  • Calling this right now. Mitchell goes for 40+. His 3 point shot will be fire tonight.
  • I can’t believe I am saying this, but I have Hamilton tickets for tonight and the only thing I am thinking about is the Jazz!
  • Hamilton is the ****.
  • THOMAS JEFFERSON’S COMIN HOME
  • Donovan > Jefferson
  • I am predicting a big win for Alexander Hamilton in tonight’s duel vs. Aaron Burr. No spoilers if you know how this turns out!
  • Brewer is a b**** a** roach
  • Pansy P with the fluke basket
  • I can tell right now that Thunder will play much better they did the last two games.
  • Billy just took Carmelo out… not fair put him back.
  • Crowder with the steal chair to his haters
  • Crowder is Larry Bird
  • Holy ****. Jae Crowder with the insane spark off the bench.
  • This game feels like a Jazz win. We are moving, rotating and hitting open 3s.
  • Dante slipped on Fatman Felton’s butter sweat
  • Joe Ingles giving pushoff P a Pushoff and hitting a 3 is the highlight of the series LOL
  • When Fatman Felton runs the floor Thunders
  • Stupid OKC fans dumb punks
  • I missed it, what happened?
  • Nothing really, I just hate them
  • Felton so fat he didnt even feel that he was pushin Exum out of bounds with his belly.
  • Get your Westbrick shot out of there Rudy molested you
  • Thunder arena sounds best silent,
  • kicking their assssss
  • Westbrick is not smart enough to even see what the problem is.
  • A tech on OKC. This is fun.
  • How many shots did Westbrook jack up? Holy ****.
  • I really hate Westbrick’s face reminds me of a kermit the frog on crack
  • OKC is incredibly dumb… can’t tell how much is players and how much is coach.
  • The way the crowd is acting I feel like I’m watching a game in early January – very low energy.
  • Gobert just destroyed Westbrick’s career. I mean destroyed whatever is left of it. He can still do a muppets movie as a 3d crack head Kermit the Frog
  • Time for OKC to start with the frustration fouls and starting fights
  • What is Crymelo postseason record against us… 3-8 now?
  • We’re up by 25 on a team that has quit.
  • OKC just doesn’t want it. Don’t let them think they do.
  • Personally I would love it if the arena emptied before the 8 minute mark in the 4th.
  • Westbrick finally shows up.
  • Don’t do this Jazz… don’t give them one damned breathe of air.
  • Down 18 stupid okc fans suck at match think they are down by a bucket
  • Westbrook hits 2 though shots. He’s now going to force 6 more in 3 minutes.
  • Let’s push this thing to 30, then we can relax
  • Keep your foot on their throat Jazz
  • damn looks like jazz got this
  • Jesus. So much for them laying down after being down 25
  • Okc will run out of gas.
  • This come back will be short lived
  • Adam Silver doing some wwe **** now
  • Jazz are completely falling apart.
  • What the actual **** i
  • whats happening. Our offense is awful
  • One of the biggest choke jobs in playoff history.
  • **** the NBA and **** NBATV. Why can’t I watch this **** on national TV. ****
  • I’m getting worried.
  • 25 point lead gone just like that.
  • Ingles gonna give okc a kangaroo kick
  • I’m gonna be in an awful mood if this continues
  • Son of a….
  • Wtf Are we watching
  • What an explosion from Westbrook.
  • One of the craziest quarters of basketball I’ve ever seen.
  • I don’t have a good feeling about this.
  • If your gonna give up a 25 point lead at least take a little more time to do it.
  • Give Westbrook some credit. Hell of a quarter from him.
  • I can only hope Westbrook is outta gas….but he’s an mvp…
  • seriously falling apart. no composure
  • Now when we win it will merely crush Westbrook’s will even further. So do not despair.
  • That’s it I’m done. I’m to frustrated with this ******** officiating. Wife is pissed because I’m yelling. Calling it a night before I end up in the dog house
  • Westbrick ain’t nothing, we got this.
  • Do not blame refs. No single lineup of NBA players should blow a lead that big that fast.
  • Not sure if I’ve ever seen a jazz team meltdown like this.
  • We have shat the bed.
  • If the Jazz lose I’m going to be worried about the momentum for Thunder in game 6 and 7.
  • So who were all the people on here earlier today saying they wanted Westbrook to play this game? Good call guys…
  • Game over. Jazz down and can’t stop Westbrook.
  • Let’s leave Westbrook unguarded so he can hit mid-range jumpers.
  • Terrible! I can’t get how you lead by 25 and blow it. If they lose this series. This will go down as the biggest let down in Jazz franchise history.
  • OKC vs Houston should be fun to watch
  • Absolutely unbelievably horrible performance.
  • Championship teams don’t blow 25 pt leads.
  • Our worst nightmare just happened. We let Westbrook find himself and this series just shifted.
  • I have a friend Chris who texted me saying we murdered them… and they immediately came back… I have informed him that he is no longer my friend and I am going to his house now to lay an upper decker in every toilet in his house.
  • DM finally looked a little shell shocked too…
  • Top three most pathetic game in Jazz history.
  • Wouldn’t be right the way this season has been to not have the Jazz set another record of some kind.
  • gonna long ****ing 48 hours
  • I was yelling so much I think I’m getting a divorce.
  • We ain’t coming back.
  • Guys seriously I think that game gave me cancer.
  • Surprised by OKC not giving up when they were dead in the water. Props
  • We got Westbrooked.
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Thunder complete historic comeback

25 points. It seemed insurmountable. Russell Westbrook had other things in mind.

Westbrook, the 2016-17 NBA’s Most Valuable Player, outscored the Utah Jazz 33-28 en route to the Oklahoma City Thunder finding a way to save their season.

“A 25-point lead, a 20-point in the NBA is not safe,” Jazz head coach Quin Snyder said. “Especially when you got two guys like Russell and Paul George that can do what they did.”

Westbrook’s heroics sends Oklahoma City to Utah in a Game 6 on Friday night with a 107-99 win.

Utah leads the series 3-2. It’s the first win in franchise history when trailing 3-1.

Oklahoma City trailed by 15 at halftime and it appeared the season was over. When the Jazz came out and threw some more haymakers, putting Oklahoma City down 25 with 8:32 the meltdown on social media and in living rooms across this great state commenced.

Russell Westbrook had other ideas in mind.

Westbrook came out of a timeout, nailed two big threes. Those threes, reminiscent of his MVP season, dagger threes. Momentum building shots that organically injected energy into the crowd. That fueled the Thunder’s comeback.

Westbrook then found George, who cut to the rim for a lay up. Westbrook came back with back-to-back buckets. In the blink of an eye, the Thunder cut the deficit down to 13 with 5:08 remaining. Everyone had hope again.

The comeback was complete when Westbrook rose in to heights of Loud City and drained a three, leveling the game at 78-all to end the third quarter.

“I think tonight obviously, with the magnitude of the game and the excitement to come back, we played off each other very, very well,” Westbrook said. “Made big plays. Paul made big plays down the stretch, stayed in attack mode, and it was good tonight.”

Throughout a large part of the run, Carmelo Anthony sat on the bench. While the Thunder took the lead right in the early moments of the fourth quarter, Anthony sat. He sat as the Thunder went on a 40-16 run. Not a typo. When Anthony finally re-entered at the 7:58 mark of the fourth, Oklahoma City clinged to a one-lead.

Utah regained the lead at 91-90 with 6:36 but Westbrook nailed another three. That was followed by an Alex Abrines three-pointer, putting Oklahoma City up 96-91.

A lot of the comeback was done without the big men of Utah. Rudy Gobert and Derrick Favors both had five fouls and were non-existent in the second half after being so important in the first half.

“We talked a lot better,” Thunder head coach Billy Donovan said. “We saw things coming. We just did things at a better level. That’s been our challenge.”

Over the game’s final 20 minutes and 32 seconds, Westbrook and George assisted or scored on all 61 points as the Thunder outscored Utah 61-28 over that stretch. Westbrook scored 33 points over that time frame, outscoring Utah by five.

Westbrook finished with 45 points, 15 rebounds and seven assists. George finished with 34 points, eight rebounds and two steals. No other Thunder player would score more than seven points (Anthony). Steven adams finished six points and six rebounds. Abrines finished a game high plus-18 for the Thunder.

Utah hit seven threes in the first quarter and the Thunder were content as they trailed by only five. However, the Jazz took a 56-41 lead into the break.

“All pride,” George said. “We’re not gonna lose here. This crowd, Oklahoma. They didn’t quit on us, didn’t die on us. We felt them. That energy was unbelievable.”

Game 6 is scheduled for 9:30 p.m. on Friday night. The late tip-off is due to those on the East coast tipping off before. That game will be on ESPN. If the Thunder win, a decisive Game 7 will be on Sunday, April 29. The time for that game has yet to be determined. It has a lot to do with the Toronto-Washington and Cleveland-Indiana series. If they go to Game 7s, Oklahoma City could see a very late tip-off again.

Three Keys to the Game

Second Quarter: F

In a quarter that was so key in previous games, was almost the dagger in the Thunder’s heart again. But, it was the Thunder’s third quarter which turned the tide.

Second chance scoring: A+

Oklahoma City scored 20 second chance points tonight. They had scored only 21 points in the previous three games. That’s huge. When they can grab offensive board and put the shots back up, they’re obviously scoring more but they’re giving themselves extra opportunities and limiting what Utah can do offensively.

Big Three: A+

This is an A+ without even Anthony being considered. Russell Westbrook was amazing. Paul George was out of this world. Both players played all 24 minutes in the second half and despite being tired gave everything to the Thunder and this season. They’ll need that a few more times.

 

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POLL: Do you think OKC wins Game 5?

Short and simple: Do you think Oklahoma City wins and sends it back to Salt Lake City for a Game 6?

Do you think OKC wins Game 5?

View Results

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Thunder Playoff Game Day No. 4: at Utah Jazz

Utah leads series 2-1

Monday, April 23 :: 9:30 p.m. CST ::Vivint Smart Home Arena (19,911)
TV Coverage: FS Oklahoma (DirectTV 675, Cox 37, HD 722, Tulsa Cox 27)
TV Coverage: TNT (245 DirecTV, 31 Cox, 730 HD 108 AT&T U-Verse, 138 Dish)
Radio Coverage: 98.1 FM/640AM/97.1 Tulsa
View from the enemyHere.
Line: The Oklahoma City Thunder are a 4-point underdog. The over/under is 209½.
Online StreamFS OK | WWLS Sports Animal | Live Stats | Twitter | Facebook
Game Notes: Thunder: here | Jazz: here

SETTING THE SCENE

  • Oklahoma City faces pretty much their entire season tonight. Oklahoma City is 0-4 all-time in Game 5s, so the Thunder need this game more than anything.
  • Utah used a 13-0 run to ice Game 2 on Saturday night. Oklahoma City once again struggled in the fourth quarter.
  • Oklahoma City is 6-4 in Game 4s when down 2-1 in a series.
  • Russell Westbrook fell one rebound shy of a triple-double, finishing with 14 points, 11 rebounds, nine assists and two steals, despite having one of his worst games in the playoffs in a long time.
  • Raymond Felton led the OKC reserves, who outscored the Jazz bench 34-17, with 14 points, shooting 4-of-5 from long range and 5-of-10 from the field.

FOLLOWING THE ACTION

  • You can catch the radio on Oklahoma City’s WWLS, 98.1 FM. Matt Pinto will be your play-by-play voice. If you’re in Tulsa, catch it on 1450 AM.
  • Brian Davis and Michael Cage call the game on the Thunder’s flagship station, Fox Sports Oklahoma. You can watch the game there, catch it on NBA League Pass, or use the Fox Sports App (If you’re in Oklahoma).
  • Tonight’s game is on TNT for the national broadcast. It’s unknown who the broadcast team will be.

THUNDER INJURY REPORT

  • Andre Roberson (ruptured patellar tendon) is out for the season.

JAZZ INJURY REPORT

  • Thabo Sefolosha (knee) is out.



Three Keys to the Game

Pace

Utah struggled keeping up with the pace in Game 1. The Jazz (25th in pace in the regular season) have done a better job of slowing the pace down. It was 100.2 in Game 1, 97.3 in Game 2, and 96.4 in Game 3. If it’s around 99-100-plus, that’s where Oklahoma City excels. When the Jazz keep it below 98, Utah thrives. It’s that simple.

Rebounding

Utah is 35-8 when they win the rebounding battle and they only allow 10.9 second chance points per game. The Jazz are also only 19-21 when allowing 11 or more second chance scoring. They’re 29-13 when they allow 10 or less. Oklahoma City MUST find a way to gobble up offensive boards and make the Jazz pay. This goes back to Steven Adams.

Share the ball

Oklahoma City continues their sharing ways, they’ll be good. Oklahoma City is 31-12 when Westbrook has at least 10 assists. he’s averaging 22.8 points, 11.3 rebounds and 10.0 assists in four games against Utah. If Westbrook could get to that 10 assist mark that means two things: 1) he’s trusting his teammates and 2) those said teammates are hitting their shots.

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Thunder Playoff Game Day: at Utah Jazz – Game 3

Series tied 1-1

Saturday, April 21 :: 9:00 p.m. CST ::Vivint Smart Home Arena (19,911)
TV Coverage: FS Oklahoma (DirectTV 675, Cox 37, HD 722, Tulsa Cox 27)
TV Coverage: ESPN (DirectTV 206, Cox 29, HD 1300, Tulsa Cox HD 1025)
Radio Coverage: 98.1 FM/640AM/97.1 Tulsa
View from the enemyHere.
Line: The Oklahoma City Thunder are a 4½-point underdog. The over/under is 207.
Online StreamFS OK | WWLS Sports Animal | Live Stats | Twitter | Facebook
Game Notes: Thunder: here | Jazz: here

SETTING THE SCENE

  • The Oklahoma City Thunder look to get back on top of a tight series with a win in Utah tonight. If the Thunder fall tonight, the series gets tough. If they win, they take a commanding 2-1 lead with a game back in Oklahoma City potentially close out the series.
  • Utah beat the Thunder 102-95 on Wednesday night in a game that saw Oklahoma City go on a 19-0 and then Utah respond with an 18-3 run of their own. Oklahoma City’s Big Three went 0-of-14 in the fourth quarter, a first this season.
  • The Thunder scored its 10,000th playoff point, one of just three teams to do so since the 2010 postseason (San Antonio, Miami).
  • Russell Westbrook fell one rebound shy of a triple-double with a team-leading 19 points, game-best 13 assists and nine rebounds along with a game-high four steals.
  • Paul George notched his third playoff double-double with 18 points and a team-leading 10 rebounds while blocking three shots.
  • Jerami Grant set new postseason career highs in both scoring and rebounding with a bench-leading 13 points and six rebounds while going 6-for-10 from the field.

FOLLOWING THE ACTION

  • You can catch the radio on Oklahoma City’s WWLS, 98.1 FM. Matt Pinto will be your play-by-play voice. If you’re in Tulsa, catch it on 1450 AM.
  • Brian Davis and Michael Cage call the game on the Thunder’s flagship station, Fox Sports Oklahoma. You can watch the game there, catch it on NBA League Pass, or use the Fox Sports App (If you’re in Oklahoma).
  • Tonight’s game is on ESPN for the national broadcast. It’s unknown who the broadcast team will be.

SCOUTING THE JAZZ

  • The Utah Jazz finished the regular season 48-34 on the season, fifth in the Western Conference.
  • Oklahoma City, New Orleans and Utah all finished with the same record. However, the Thunder’s best overall record between the three teams is what secured the Thunder the fourth seed.
  • Over their last 10 games, Utah is 7-3.
  • In their last 10 road games, the Jazz are 7-3.
  • All-time against Utah, the Thunder are 106-78.
  • Since relocation from Seattle, Oklahoma City is 27-12 against the Jazz.
  • When the games are played at the ‘Peake, the Thunder are dominant. They’ve won 14 straight against the Jazz.
  • Utah hasn’t won in Oklahoma City since the arena was named Oklahoma City Arena.
  • The Thunder are 17-2 against the Jazz in the OKC era at home.
  • In the regular season, Oklahoma City won the series, going 3-1 against Utah.
  • You really have to throw the season series out of the window as the last meeting happened on Dec. 23 and the Thunder are a much different team since the loss of Andre Roberson.
  • Oklahoma City is 10-2 against the Jazz dating back to the start of the 2015-16 season.
  • The Thunder’s largest margin of victory over Utah came on Dec. 20, 2017, where Oklahoma City prevailed by a score of 107-79 (28-point margin of victory).
  • Meanwhile, the Thunder’s largest margin of defeat (21 points) vs. Utah occurred during a 120-99 loss on Oct. 31, 2010

THUNDER INJURY REPORT

  • Andre Roberson (ruptured patellar tendon) is out for the season.

JAZZ INJURY REPORT

  • Thabo Sefolosha (knee) is out.

CONNECTIONS

  • Thabo Sefolosha spent six seasons with the Thunder.
  • Alec Burks Andre Roberson played together at Colorado (2010-11).
  • Jonas Jerebko and Kyle Singler were teammates in Detroit for three seasons (2012-15).
  • Jazz Head Coach Quin Snyder, Jazz Assistant Coach Antonio Lang and Singler all played at Duke.

WHAT’S IN A JAZZ NAME

  • No, Utah isn’t known for its Jazz. The team originated in New Orleans in 1974 and club officials decided to keep the name after relocating to Salt Lake City in 1979.
  • The Jazz nickname was originally chosen through a name-the-team contest, which produced seven other finalists: Dukes, Crescents, Pilots, Cajuns, Blues, Deltas, and Knights.
  • Deltas would’ve translated to Salt Lake City rather well (the airline of the same name has a hub there), while Cajuns may have been even worse than Jazz.



Three Keys to the Game

Pace

Utah struggled keeping up with the pace in Game 1. For some reason, the Jazz (25th in pace in the regular season) thought they could keep up with Oklahoma City in transition. It didn’t work. Oklahoma City really forced Utah into some compromising positions as a result. Oklahoma City has to talk them into doing it again. Push the pace. Get Utah uncomfortable.

Rebounding

Utah is 35-8 when they win the rebounding battle and they only allow 10.9 second chance points per game. The Jazz are also only 19-21 when allowing 11 or more second chance scoring. They’re 29-13 when they allow 10 or less. Oklahoma City MUST find a way to gobble up offensive boards and make the Jazz pay. This goes back to Steven Adams.

Share the ball

Oklahoma City continues their sharing ways, they’ll be good. Oklahoma City is 31-12 when Westbrook has at least 10 assists. he’s averaging 22.8 points, 11.3 rebounds and 10.0 assists in four games against Utah. If Westbrook could get to that 10 assist mark that means two things: 1) he’s trusting his teammates and 2) those said teammates are hitting their shots.

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Five Thoughts 4-18-18 (Game 2 Jazz 102, Thunder 95)

Five Thoughts 4-18-18 (Game 2 Jazz 102, Thunder 95)

1. First of all, nothing I saw tonight really changes the way I feel about the series. I feel no panic and I feel no relaxation. I predicted the series to go 6, but I was 50/50 on whether or not to predict it to go 7. I figured this would be a very tight series and I didn’t expect the rollercoaster Thunder season to suddenly even out— especially against a team as sound as Utah. Tonight was frustrating of course as all losses in the playoffs are; but I don’t feel particularly bad or pessimistic about the remainder of the games. Through two games this series appears to be what myself (and many others) figured it would be: fairly evenly-matched with a real lack of easy baskets for either team. I also am not overly caught up in the home court for this series. I don’t see either team sweeping all of their home games. I thought this thing was going at least six and nothing I’ve seen through two games leads me to change my thinking.

2. Sports fans always view the games through the lens of their team. As someone who has spent an embarrassing amount of time on message boards over the years I feel as if I’ve become pretty well versed in how fans act and react. Rarely, if ever, do fans account for the OTHER team. Every loss usually gets pinned on their own failings or the failings of the coach, etc. There is very, very little of tipping the cap to the other side. It kind of drives me crazy. Sometimes, your team blows it. Sometimes, your team stinks. And sometimes you just lose. Sometimes the other guys are pretty good. I thought Donovan Mitchell had a virtuoso stretch tonight and I give him all the credit in the world for saving his team. If Utah falls 2-0 in the series I wouldn’t have liked their chances at all. When we went on our 19-0 run to take the 10 point lead, the Jazz season may have very well been on the line right then and there. Mitchell had struggled all night with Brewer harassing him; but suddenly when his team desperately needed a lifeline, he came to the rescue. He scored 7 points in the final 53 seconds of the third quarter and helped cut the Thunder lead from 10 down to 5. It was a massive moment in the game. It had a scoreboard impact of course, but it also seemed to resuscitate his team. His final numbers weren’t overly impressive, but his timing was impeccable. That kid is a real player. A budding star if you ask me. And he did it against hounding defense from all angles. Hats off to him. He was the best player on the floor tonight in the clutch. He outperformed all of our guys. Looks like the Jazz have a very special player on their hands.

3. On the flip side, don’t need to say much about tonight other than 0-14. That was the combined 4th quarter shooting from Russ, PG, and Melo. Good luck with that. Oddly enough I actually thought we moved the ball and took better shots in the fourth quarter as opposed to earlier in the game. But wow, nothing fell. Utah is the best defensive team in the league; we aren’t going to get very many “easy” looks against them. They are going to force us a little out of our comfort zone. We need to make some shots. In game one, we made them all. In game two, we didn’t make any. If we meet in the middle the rest of the series we should be alright.

4. I am fine with our rotations and strategy thus far in the series. Our defense has been really good. We allowed some easy stuff in the paint game one, but we cleaned that up tonight. Our perimeter defense has been fantastic. Utah is working for everything. Effort has been excellent and they’ve also been pretty smart. Not many breakdowns and we’ve forced turnovers and bad possessions. Rubio and Favors taking three’s is what we want— they hit them tonight, but that is not what Utah WANTS to do offensively. Offensively, we’ve struggled some. It’s due mainly to Utah being so good on D. I think Russ has been pretty patient though; tonight more so than game one. The one criticism I have is that Melo is being extended too long. I don’t like seeing him play the entire first and third quarters. He’s played pretty well thus far; he’s battled with their bigger guys and he’s given them some issues when we have the ball. He’s having a solid series. I just think he needs a slight minutes reduction— those minutes can go to Patterson and/or Grant. Jerami is often already in during those times so Patterson would be the main beneficiary. Not that I’m head over heels for what Patterson is currently offering, but a few more minutes might help get him going and may also result in a fresher version of Melo at the end of the game. Otherwise, in terms of strategic analysis, I think we’ve done fine through two games.

5. I let out a little sigh walking out of the arena tonight; not because I felt dejected, but because we were pretty close to taking this to 2-0 and while 2-0 guarantees nothing, it would have allowed ME to feel more relaxed these next few days in advance of games 3 and 4. Now, the playoff tension has officially set in. It’s a familiar feeling— and I’m grateful for that. It’s almost like that pain you feel when working out. You don’t like it in the moment, but you know it’s all for the best. Without that feeling, the fun of being a fan is sort of wiped out. So, I’ll take it. One of these teams is going to win three more games in this series. It is such a grind. Every possession seems so difficult for both teams. The Jazz fans will be rocking on Saturday night just like we were in OKC. It will likely light a fire early for their team. But then it will settle down and we will have these two teams waging a now familiar battle. I expect to see more of what we’ve seen already and I expect at least one of the next two games to be decided in the final minutes. I kind of wish we didn’t have to wait until (late) Saturday for Game 3 and I also kind of wish it was three weeks away. These games are tense, exhausting. I don’t foresee that tendon lifting until the series officially ends. Buckle up.

Ed Kleese is a long-time Thunder season ticket holder and a smart Thunder fan. You can read all his work on his own personal blog.
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