In their Game 2 loss to the Jazz on Wednesday, the Thunder went chilly on the worst imaginable time.
Oklahoma City’s megastar trio of Russell Westbrook, Paul George and Carmelo Anthony didn’t make a shot in the fourth quarter. That made producing offense virtually unimaginable in the overall 4 mins, and it left the Thunder feeling they let a vital house recreation at Chesapeake Energy Arena slip away.
Two days of movie and apply most effective showed that perception to them. So the Thunder remain masses confident they can prevail in this first around matchup against the Jazz. The series is tied 1-1 going into Saturday’s Game Three at Vivint Smart Home Arena, however they imagine their undoing in Game 2 used to be extra about coming unraveled than the Jazz enforcing their will.
“We just made the game tough on ourselves,” George mentioned Friday. “We could’ve made the game a lot easier. That’s all it came down to in that fourth quarter. The shots we took are ones we could’ve made. But we could’ve made it a little easier on ourselves.”
In what looks as if probably the most aggressive first around series in the Western Conference, the Thunder see some sure traits. They have successfully taken playmaking Utah ahead Joe Ingles out of the series offensively, thereby putting extra drive on Donovan Mitchell and Ricky Rubio to run the Jazz offense.
They even have compelled the Jazz into turnovers and gotten out into transition for simple baskets. And they have established Anthony — who used to be every so often misplaced all the way through the common season as a 3rd cog.
However, the Thunder expect a opposed setting in those two highway video games this against the Jazz (Game four is Monday). OKC has leaned on Anthony slightly in this sense. He and backup level guard Raymond Felton are the one avid gamers at the roster who’ve performed against Utah all the way through the postseason. So Anthony has been education his teammates on what to anticipate, permitting them to know what the ambience might be like on Saturday evening.
“This is a time where we’ve got to come together,” Anthony mentioned. “More so now than ever. It’s a great environment to be honest with you. The fans are all over top of you. They’re screaming and yelling. Whatever they say, they say. We’ve just got to be prepared for that. Any little crack in the armor, it can get tough out there. So we don’t want to allow that.”
The Thunder want to see Westbrook play extra impactful basketball. The famous person level guard scored 29 issues in Game 1 and dropped 19 issues to move in conjunction with 13 assists and 9 rebounds in Game 2. But he wasn’t in a position to position his standard imprint on both recreation.
On Sunday, that used to be nice, as a result of George scored 36 issues and became in one in all his best possible playoff performances so far, But, when George’s jumper went dry in Game 2, Westbrook wasn’t in a position to fill in the gaps.
Defensively, the Thunder need to proceed doing the similar issues. Rubio hit 5 Three-pointers, however OKC doesn’t need to overreact to him making perimeter pictures. Derrick Favors hit two threes, however the Thunder are extra anxious about retaining him clear of the offensive glass. By now, they know Donovan Mitchell will most certainly ranking issues regardless, so restricting his teammates is of better fear.
“Mitchell made some really, really hard shots,” Thunder trainer Billy Donovan mentioned. “Especially on his drives to the basket, and his floaters and those kinds of things. So, that’s what good players do. Sometimes, there’s really not a lot you can do about that. But when the shot goes up, your ability to rebound and get back in transition, those things are controllable. We have to do better at those things.”