Russell Westbrook & Paul George lead greatest comeback in OKC history

Russell Westbrook & Paul George lead greatest comeback in OKC history

Javier Howell
April 27, 2018

Joe Ingles' Utah Jazz have suffered the third-biggest collapse in National Basketball Association playoffs history after failing to repel a scoring surge led by the Oklahoma City Thunder's Russell Westbrook. Not only that, but 5-of-9 from three-point range is just what the doctor ordered.

Gobert contributed 11 points and 10 rebounds and rookie Donovan Mitchell delivered 23 points. The Jazz got out of their offensive rhythm in Game 5, but likely will be more focused in Game 6.

George had 34 points and eight rebounds for the game and his New Zealand centre Steven Adams was strong with six points and six rebounds.

If they fail to do so, they'll be back in OKC for Game 7. They trailed by 14 points late in the game before rallying and having a chance to force overtime, with Joe Johnson missing a 3-point attempt at the buzzer. He was 17-of-39 from the floor in his 44 minutes of work.

It's the largest comeback victory in Thunder history, including the regular season.

When Gobert suffered a sprained knee in December, the Jazz floundered and were on course to miss the playoffs.

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With a better balance of how and when to attack - more decisive moves by Mitchell, more aggression from Ricky Rubio, more moving the ball from Utah's catch-and-shoot role players - the Jazz might have been better equipped to stem OKC's run. We've been tested all year. Oladipo scored 12 points on two of 15 shooting.

The Jazz will now start feeling the pressure to close this series out on their home court, and their collapse in game five will be fresh on their minds.

One thing I've learned in 30-plus years of studying this stuff is momentum within a playoff series is a myth. Crowder scored 15 points - making four 3-pointers - over the final 4:38 of the opening period as Utah took a 34-29 lead. OKC had never coalesced throughout the season; they were meant to lose to a unified squad that was simply a better team right? The Jazz certainly blew a golden opportunity to win the series in five games.

4-1 ATS in their last 5 games when their opponent scores 100 or more points in their previous game.

The only way for Mitchell's comment to be true would be if the Jazz can finish off the series in Game 6 as it shifts back to Utah. The Jazz have out-rebounded the Thunder in four consecutive games, and they have also limited the Thunder to an average of 100 points in their last four games.

But then Westbrook hit back-to-back 3-pointers from the left wing, and George made a 3-point play that drew Derrick Favors' fourth foul. Give me Utah to win and advance to the second round.