The Oklahoma City Thunder defeated the Utah Jazz at home, 148-147 in double-overtime. After a week off, both teams looked fresh and ready to make a statement against the other — OKC looking to win the season series and partially amend from last year’s unceremonious playoff exit, and Utah looking to get back into the mix. With the two teams combining for nearly 300 points (OKC and San Antonio combined for 301 in an earlier 2OT loss), you could argue that this game was played at not only a higher competitive level, but also with superior shot making as compared to the All-Star Game affair last weekend.
In a truly back-and-forth affair where OKC saw its 1st half lead evaporate in the 3rd and have to play catchup throughout the 4th, timely plays at the end of regulation and both overtimes cued the win that appeared to be in Utah’s grasp. Compounding the matter, OKC was without Russell Westbrook and Terrance Ferguson in the end, both of whom had both fouled out earlier in the game.
In the end, with the Jazz clinging to a one point lead after 2 Rudy Gobert free throws, the Thunder were able to get a key stop with 10 seconds remaining. Earlier in the game, Russell Westbrook eschewed a timeout in a nearly identical situation at the end of regulation, missing a long jump shot that could have won it. Now, it was Paul George who opted to run it without a timeout, but this time, he split two Jazz defenders and lofted a rafter-scraping teardrop over the game’s best defensive center in Gobert. Watch:
I really don’t have adequate words to describe this game. It was everything we love about the NBA, with stars being stars, role players stepping up (Abdel Nader?!?), big shots falling, key defensive stops when it looked like neither team could, and in the end, a game winning floater that could have passed over the actual Eiffel Tower. I think I need to lie down.
George finished with 45 on the night in 50(!) minutes of play to go along with 9 rebounds and 7 assists. Westbrook, who fouled out in 2OT after colliding with Jae Crowder for an offensive foul, finished with 43 on 15-29 shooting, including 6-13 from three while grabbing 15 rebounds, but finally saw his triple-double string snapped with only 8 assists.
But even as the two stars carried most of the load, it was key plays from Jerami Grant, Nader, Steven Adams, and Dennis Schroder who both hounded Donovan Mitchell into 2-10 shooting in the two overtimes while getting key buckets when it mattered most. And this after the Jazz role players had thoroughly outperformed OKC’s own. Somehow, OKC found the opportunity to grab the win.
And gripping the back of my mind all throughout this fantastic affair? OKC has to turn around and do it again in about 18 hours. Better get those ice buckets ready.