Welp, we’re all knotted after the first two games, and there’s no doubt in my mind that the Thunder and Jazz will be going the distance in round one. Games one and two have been completely chaotic, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Basketball is often described as a game of runs, and this series has been an extreme example of that. Each team has gone through their fair share of runs, where they’re firing on all cylinders and doing everything right. Both sides have also had their miserable stretches, where nothing goes right. It’s a hectic pattern, but one that’s unbelievably entertaining. I hope all seven games follow this exact same track.
As for takeaways from Wednesday’s Game 2, Donovan Mitchell and the trend of runs dominated the night.
OKC went on a 19-0 run towards the end of the third quarter, and entered the final frame up 5, but it was Mitchell and Rudy Gobert who would take over the last 12 minutes. The Thunder followed up their 19-0 tear with an 0/9 start to the fourth. Utah took full advantage, ripping off an 18-3 run. They’d go on to outscore OKC 28-16 in the fourth quarter, as the Thunder were never able to fully come back from the lackluster stretch.
Mitchell would finish with 28 points, 13 of which came in the fourth quarter. He was defended by Paul George down the stretch to finish out the game, and still managed to find production. This was the icing on the cake, I think I’m in love with the way he plays.
Russell Westbrook, Paul George, and Carmelo Anthony went 0/14 from the field in the fourth quarter and would score just 2 points in the final 12 minutes. Correct me if I’m wrong, but that doesn’t sound like a winning formula to me. Yes, poor shooting stretches will happen, but the Thunder simply cannot win if all three of these guys go cold in crunch time. Add in Steven Adams fouling out amid an apparent arm injury (to go along with just being generally banged up) and you have a recipe for disaster.
Melo’s fourth quarter shooting naturally sticks out, as he missed two threes in the game’s final minute. He’s now 9 for his last 41 from deep, and his inefficiency finally played a role in a Thunder loss last night. Earlier this season, he was seen passing up open looks to make that one extra pass. That has since disappeared, but it would be very beneficial for Melo to improve his shot selection going forward.
Maybe it’s an issue of who gets the nod in the final stretch, or simply making a change on the fly when things aren’t going well. Nevertheless, adjustments will be needed if this continues, no matter how big or small.
- Russ finished with 19 points, 9 rebounds, and 13 assists. He was 0/4 FG in the fourth quarter.
- Paul George had 18 points and 10 rebounds on Wednesday. He finished 6/21 FG and was 0/7 FG in the fourth quarter.
- This is relevant:
Donovan Mitchell becomes the 2nd rookie in NBA history to score 27+ points in his first 2 playoff games. The other: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.— Ben Dowsett (@Ben_Dowsett) April 19, 2018
- Steven Adams had 9 points and 7 rebounds, dealing with foul trouble and what looked to be an uncomfortable right arm all game. Billy Donovan said after the game that there is no injury concern there.
- Here’s Russ’ Game two fit:
Russell Westbrook looks like he’s about to interrupt The Temptations at The Copacabana pic.twitter.com/AoAQduJAhl— LizzLocker (@Lizzs_Lockeroom) April 19, 2018
- The Toronto Raptors mascot gave his own take on Russ’ Game one fit earlier this week:
The #Toronto Raptors mascot trolls Russell Westbrook with shirtless suit https://t.co/PIG0fHnPW4 pic.twitter.com/VJWmSQqfCa— blogTO (@blogTO) April 18, 2018
- It was announced on Wednesday evening that Erin Popovich, wife of Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich, has passed away after an extended illness. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Popovich family.
A Look Ahead
Game 3 will take place in Utah on Saturday night at 9:00 PM CT.