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Grades: OKC Thunder get blown out by the Jazz in Game 3
23 April 2018, 12:55 | Tracey Rhodes
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While Rubio's shooting has improved every game in the series - 5-of-18 to 6-of-16 to 9-of-18 - Westbrook's has declined - 10-of-25 to 7-of-19 to 5-of-17.
"Having my name next to his name is an honor", Rubio said of Stockton. "I have huge respect for him and playing here was great because I know how big of a point guard he was for this franchise".
After Donovan Mitchell led the Jazz to victory over the Thunder in Game 2, it was Ricky Rubio's turn in Game 3. After a quick putback bucket by Gobert to begin the third, a Westbrook 3-pointer kicked off a 10-0 OKC run, which gave the Thunder a short-lived lead.
"He made some shots", Westbrook said, when asked about Rubio's big night.
"We have to have that mentality", he said, then added, "I don't want to put that emphasis on this game being do or die".
For the Utah Jazz, even up 2-1 in their first-round series against Oklahoma City, that detail has been turnovers. In the first two games, the Jazz have received few contributions from their reserve unit, which is something that will likely need to change dramatically if they are to win Game 3 and take a 2-1 victory. So, what would click for him in Game 3?
Rubio dictated the tempo of the game, smothered Westbrook on defense and pushed the ball in transition to get the Jazz easy looks.
"I think stats that I've averaged all season have been up there so it's not really anything new for the team or myself".
Slowing Donovan Mitchell. The Jazz rookie has been historically good in the first two games of his playoff career, averaging 27.5 PPG in the first two contests. "In the second game, they didn't make them, and that's why we won".
It's one of the most important statistics for any head coach, and Jazz coach Quin Snyder said he's tried to zero in on Utah's decision-making and limit the giveaways.
"Ironically, we've gotten worse as the series has gone on", he said. Game 4 is Monday night at 10:30 ET again in Salt Lake City.
Fred Katz is the Thunder beat writer for the Norman Transcript and CNHI Oklahoma as well as the host of the postgame show, Thunder After Dark, and the OKC Dream Team, a weekly Thunder podcast that runs every Tuesday. The Thunder need to get something going consistently from the perimeter to soften up Utah's stout interior defense. While Utah still managed to beat up on the Thunder late, winning 115-102, it's an area they Jazz feel they can tighten up in for Game 4.
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