The seemingly insurmountable odds the Oklahoma City Thunder faced in their comeback win over the Utah Jazz were too tempting for some punters in New Zealand. Not only that, but 5-of-9 from three-point range is just what the doctor ordered.
Reigning NBA MVP Russell Westbrook led the way with 45 points, 15 rebounds and seven assists. The 29-year old point guard has collected a double-double in each game in this series, however he has been inconsistent at times, and he is averaging 26 points in five games. After dodging a suspension for his Game 5 antics, Westbrook would finish with 45 points, 15 rebounds and seven assists. They fell down 71-46 with eight-and-a-half minutes remaining in the third.
That did not appear to be the likely result in the third quarter, with the Jazz cruising with a 25-point lead on the Thunder's home court and some disheartened Oklahoma fans leaving the arena early.
He started his career with the Utah Jazz in 2011 but was traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder during the 2015 season.
- One wrinkle the Thunder threw at the Jazz in Game 5 that may be a factor in Game 6 is the way it switched everything from the point guard through the center position in the second half.
While you would have preferred a win to come in a balanced, sustainable way, the Thunder's two best players stepped up to the plate and delivered with the season slipping away.
Mitchell believes their inability to get back in transition played a huge part in allowing OKC to mount their comeback. The five guys on the floor put together perhaps the most impressive stretch of play we've seen out of the Thunder all season. He's now shooting just 37 percent in the series and 21.4 percent from downtown - going 0-of-8 from deep over the last two games combined.
"I don't think Russell came out in the second half, I don't think Paul came out in the second half".
"I'll be issuing pardons to Thunder fans who left in the third quarter", OKC Mayor David Holt wrote on Twitter. They are an outstanding defensive team, limiting the opposition to an average of 99.8 points in the regular season, good for second in the National Basketball Association. The over is 7-1 in the last eight Utah games following an ATS loss. He had previously said matching the Jazz's hard play would be the key to Game 4.
I am taking the Jazz in game six.
For the first time in the series, the home team was able to get to the rim nearly at will as the Jazz's defensive anchor Rudy Gobert was in foul trouble for much of the game, which also proved to be a decisive factor.
"What were we going to rest for?"
Holding a 3-2 advantage in the series, Utah can close it out with a victory at home on Friday.