Between the end of the first quarter and the end of the second, the Oklahoma City Thunder scored a whopping 12 points. Twelve. They were down fifteen. In three minutes, they were down twenty-five, and Loud City was the quietest it’s been in a long time.
And then. With this team, it seems there’s always an “And then.” In nine minutes and change, OKC made up all of that deficit, and the fourth quarter began at a 78-all tie. Loud City was loud again, and getting louder. And in the process, the Thunder, quite unintentionally, rejected one of my tropes: “you can’t win a game with only two scorers.” Neither Russell Westbrook nor Paul George got any rest in the second half, but all by themselves, they outscored the Jazz. When all the shouting was over — but cancel that. They’re probably still shouting. Oklahoma City 107, Utah 99, the series goes to Game Six in Utah, and as the Timberwolves were fading, the Rockets, advised of what was going down, might well have said “Holy shit, are we gonna have to play these guys?”
The Jazz had six guys in double figures, the Thunder two. Jae Crowder, coming off the bench, knocked down 27; Donovan Mitchell had 23 because he’s Donovan Mitchell. And without regard to that status, Alex Abrines put a ferocious block on Mitchell, turned around, and dropped through a trey. It was the only shot Abrines made all night, but it set the Jazz reeling, and Señor Splash finished with a startling +18.
Then there’s this absurd Westbrook line: 45 points (on 17-39 shooting), 15 rebounds, and seven assists. Or, for that matter, PG-13’s: 34 points (on 12-26 shooting), eight boards, two dimes. That’s 65 shots between them. The Thunder took, um, 89 shots total. Friday night in Salt Lake, and all I want to know right now is “Can we get some production out of ‘Melo?”