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Emptying the Noggin — Too much Russ
By David Locke, Utah Jazz
Summary: Russell Westbrook willed the Thunder to a 97-95 win over the Utah Jazz with a 38 point, 10 rebound, 10 assist performance and the game winning shot with 1.7 seconds left.
- Russell Westbrook was incredible. The Jazz’s defensive plan was good: They wanted to keep him out of the paint. As a result, he only had five shots in the paint and only made one of them. The Jazz made him make tough looks that he doesn’t make at a high percentage.
- Westbrook is much less good as the shot clock goes on and the Jazz were able to get him to take 14 of his 29 shots in the final seven seconds of the shot clock. He made just five of those 14 attempts. These are the shots you want to make him take.
- In a one-possession, one-play game, shooting 5 of 21 from three is a big deal. If the Jazz make 7 of 21 — which would still be below their average — they win the game.
- Hayward hit a three to tie the game on a gorgeous play, and then Westbrook came down of a super high pick and roll and got free to his right to pull up for the game winner. Ron Boone thought it was a moving pick on Steven Adams. I’m not sure George needs to go under that pick and get caught by Adams. It is a hard call that far away from the basket as the pick was set near the logo.
- Alec Burks missed a good look corner three on the final play.
- The Jazz entered the game with the best win-loss record in games decided by five points and the second best record in games within three points with five minutes to play.
- The Jazz were down one point with :20 seconds left when Westbrook missed a jump shot, but Adams got the rebound and the Jazz had to foul Westbrook.
- Westbrook missed 13 shots in a row at one point in the game.
- Dante Exum got the run at backup point guard and played with a lot of aggressiveness on offense. He was completely overmatched trying to guard Westbrook, but who isn’t. He is not hitting the three and tonight he was 1 for 4. However, he had great assertiveness on offense.
- Hill and Hayward didn’t have good shooting nights. Hill was 2 for 10 and 0 for 4 from three and Hayward was 6 of 17 from the field and 2 for 6 from three.
- The Thunder ran the ball at the Jazz and had 20 fast break points in the first half. They finished with 25, which is a season high for all Jazz opponents.
- The Thunder were only -2 when Westbrook was on the bench. A key section of the game was when Payne hit a three and Oladipo hit a pull up jumper right before Westbrook re-entered.
- The Jazz led by seven points with 6:20 left and it felt like the Jazz were in control.
- Alec Burks played a large roll tonight. He closed the game for the first time all season and had 13 points, two rebounds and two assists. He has had a nice flow to his game the last two games. He played 24 minutes off the bench.
- Favors had a double-double, but Rudy’s rebound streak came to an end.
- Westbrook was too good. The Jazz had a plan and they executed the plan, forcing him into shots they wanted him to take. The Jazz’s defense had a decent rating for the night. Offensively, the Jazz didn’t make enough shots and never had a great offensive rhythm.