Silent and serious, the reigning league MVP scored 33 of his 45 points in the second half, and the Oklahoma City Thunder rallied from 25 points down to fight off elimination and beat the Jazz, 107-99, in Game 5 on Wednesday night (Thursday, Manila time).
Perhaps this is the main reason why the Thunder are down 3-1 against the Utah Jazz. Paul George added 34 points and eight rebounds to help the Thunder remain in the playoffs.
The Jazz led by 15 at halftime and quickly grew the advantage to 71-46 after back-to-back 3-pointers by Crowder.
The Thunder trailed by 25 with 8:34 left in the third quarter before exploding on a 32-7 burst to tie the score at 78 entering the final stanza.
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Rubio hit a three early in the fourth to keep the Jazz close, and then four straight points (a slick bucket in the lane by Mitchell and a putback slam by Gobert) gave Utah a 91-90 lead with 6:38 left in the fourth quarter. Donovan Mitchell had 23 points and Joe Ingles added 16 points in the loss.
Now, the Thunder have a daunting task ahead of them with Game 6 in Utah on Friday night.
Utah was on the brink of elminating OKC from the playoffs, but foul trouble for Rudy Gobert and Derrick Favors opened the door for a remarkable comeback-one the Jazz will look to bounce back from when the teams meet again in two days.
In addition, he rocked a "Stache Brothers" t-shirt (a nod to the nickname that he and Steven Adams had when they were teammates in OKC) and made sure to tweet a good luck message to the Thunder from the stands before tip-off.
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He has even declared an ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakhs and has ordered for an inquiry into the cause of the accident. The incident took place at 7 am and visuals from the spot showed bodies thrown all around the accident site.
"Going downhill and staying in attack mode is key for us". Mitchell was fouled on a 3-pointer with 11.1 seconds left in the first half.
He finished with 44 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists, making all 15 of his free throws. By the time he subbed back in, Oklahoma City led 88-87. Seven technicals were called in the last game.
"Just picked my spots and tried to be aggressive", Westbrook said.
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