Thunder salvage season with improbable Game 5 comeback

Jordan Melo 1.5 Hoodie Melo

Jordan Melo 1.5 Hoodie Melo

The Oklahoma City Thunder look to stave off elimination as they battle the Utah Jazz at the Vivint Smart Home Arena in Game 6.

If they fail to do so, they'll be back in OKC for Game 7. It'd also make sense if he was, to some degree, bowing his back out of frustration after having gone 5-for-16 from the field in the deciding 20 1/2 minutes of the game. Of all the questions, tactical and narrative, that surround a fascinating Game 6, one stands out above the others: will this incredible victory galvanize the Thunder? But the Thunder goes knowing that while its game is not pristine, its spirit is not broken. Down by as many as 25 points in the third quarter, Russell Westbrook would start the charge.

"For the Thunder, the issue is defense, and how you're able to handle the Jazz without Anthony on the floor".

Gobert finally returned with just under eight minutes left in that game, but by that point, the Thunder had claimed an 88-87 lead.

George was good for 21 points in the second half, 34 for the game, and also played carefully through five fouls during most of the fourth quarter.

For the first time in the series, the home team was able to get to the rim nearly at will as the Jazz's defensive anchor Rudy Gobert was in foul trouble for much of the game, which also proved to be a decisive factor. Suddenly, the Jazz were now the favorite, and with Mitchell backing up his fantastic rookie year with an even better playoff performance (26.6 points per game), Utah was skating into round two. With Jerami Grant, you can switch everything off screens and harass the Jazz far more effectively.

One thing I've learned in 30-plus years of studying this stuff is momentum within a playoff series is a myth.

Looking at the betting trends, the Thunder are 2-5 ATS in their last seven games following a win and 1-4 ATS in their last five games following a ATS win.

James nailed a 3-pointer at the buzzer to give the Cavs a 98-95 win over IN and a three-games-to-two lead IN the NBA's Eastern Conference quarterfinals. They combined to score 79 total points in the game - 45 for Westbrook and 34 from George. It looked like it would be smooth sailing into the second round for a Utah team that was firing on all cylinders. Westbrook's jumper gave Oklahoma City a 102-95 lead with 3:41 left before Mitchell scored back-to-back baskets to get Utah back within three.

The incident occurred about halfway through the fourth quarter Monday in a chippy game that saw multiple altercations leading to six in-game technical fouls and the ejection of Jazz forward Jae Crowder.

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