Thunder-Jazz games tend to be ferocious, maybe a little more than that, and it doesn’t really matter whose court it is: these teams genuinely seem to dislike one another, and whoever makes the last mistake will pull out the victory. With 1:20 left, the Thunder forced a tie at 124; at :48, a two-foot jumper by Donovan Mitchell put the Jazz up two; Rudy Gobert then fouled Russell Westbrook, who sank both free throws; Ricky Rubio tossed in a trey; Jerami Grant came back with a bucket and an And One to tie it again; Grant nailed a block and Westbrook charged at the rim, but no soap. So overtime ensued, and Utah knocked down the first four points; Paul George drew first blood for the Thunder, during which, said radio guy Matt Pinto, “Gobert crumpled like a lawn chair.” Also, neatly enough, second. Then Terrance Ferguson fouled out; Mitchell nailed two free throws, then fouled Westbrook, who missed the second free throw. Steven Adams hammered back a later Westbrook miss to put OKC up 136-135. The Jazz responded; Westbrook fouled out; Abdel Nader, called off the bench, tossed up a trey, Gobert came back with a bucket, and we’re down to :17 with the score tied once more. OKC took their last timeout, got nowhere, Mitchell got nowhere in return, and suddenly it’s double overtime.
And that second overtime was just as wild and woolly as the first. Three minutes in, it’s still tied, at 142. Grant fouled Gobert, who managed one free throw. Dennis Schröder, who’d had trouble shooting all night, came up with a bucket; Grant fouled Gobert again, and this time he got both the freebies. Jazz up by one; matching empty possessions, and finally at :008, PG-13 lofted one over the lofty Gobert. And that, as the children used to say, was all she wrote: Oklahoma City 148, Utah 147, 3-0 in the season series, and geez, we’re tired, and the Kings are coming to town.
This is the first game I recall in which all ten starters wound up in double figures. Mitchell led the Jazz with 38; double-doubles from both Gobert (26-16) and Derrick Favors (24-11). PG-13 led everyone with 45; double-doubles from Westbrook (43-15) and Adams (16-10). And we got to see Markieff Morris for the first time in Thunder blue; he made no shots, but wangled two assists and a steal. Does anyone care that Westbrook’s triple-double string is over? I didn’t think so.