Oklahoma City Thunder vs Utah Jazz: Lineups, preview & prediction 4/23/18

Steven Adams

Steven Adams

Rubio recorded 26 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists in Game 3, the first Utah playoff triple-double in 17 years. This has been a relatively high-scoring series, with games averaging 213 points, and with Westbrook sure to create a fast-paced game, this one will go over the bookies' mark.

"He made some shots", Westbrook told reporters after the game ( via ESPN ).

Russell Westbrook is averaging a triple-double, so he gets plenty of attention.

Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook wasn't too impressed with Rubio and thinks he will be able to take him during Monday's Game 4.

NEED TO KNOW: The Timberwolves bounced back from a 20-point loss in Game 2 with a sellout-crowd-inspired 16-point victory over the Rockets in Game 3 that was the franchise's first win in the playoffs since 2004. It helps a lot when you're making shots.

Mitchell said he isn't expecting to see a desperate Thunder team when game No. 4 happens Monday night, but is expecting more physicality.

The Jazz changed coverages on Westbrook throughout the game and surprised the perennial All-Star with different players in his expected passing lanes.

INJURY UPDATE: Butler, who missed a total of 21 games this season due to trouble with his right knee, clutched his left ankle in pain after twisting it late in the first half of Game 3.

Rubio, who has quietly improved his shooting this season, struggled in Game 1, going just 5-of-18 as the Thunder schemed to force him to take midrange shots. He scored 15 in a stretch where the Jazz outscored OKC 25-8, giving the Jazz a 58-53 at the half. In the meantime, Westbrook and the Thunder have plenty of work to do.

Utah certainly went all out with its presentation for its first home playoff game this postseason. "When you do that, your offense kind of comes more naturally". And, given he is 11 for 31 overall and 4 for 16 from three through two games, it's hard to argue against Utah's strategy. "Joe just threw himself into the defensive end as well".

Kyle Goon (Salt Lake Tribune) on Rudy Gobert being ready for the Thunder going small: "The key to Oklahoma City's offensive success in this series has never been a secret: The Thunder want to get Rudy Gobert away from the basket".

Not surprisingly, when Thunder teammate Carmelo Anthony was asked about Westbrook's comments on guaranteeing he'll shut down Rubio, he was all for it. Everyone in the league knows that I protect the rim.

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