The Utah Jazz will attempt to eliminate the Oklahoma City Thunder in game six of the Western Conference quarterfinals Friday night from the Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City. The Thunder were able to force a game six by recording a 107-99 home win in game five on Wednesday night.
Thunder Storm Back from 25 Point Deficit
The Oklahoma City Thunder erased a 25 point deficit in their thrilling 107-99 home win in game five on Friday night. The Thunder only shot 43% from the field, and they drilled 9 of 21 three-point attempts. Thunder’ star Russell Westbrook came alive in the second half and he accumulated a total of 45 points and 15 rebounds in the victory. The 29-year old point guard has collected a double-double in each game in this series, however he has been inconsistent at times, and he is averaging 26 points in five games. Paul George also came through with a big performance in game five, registering 34 points on 12 for 26 shooting to go with eight boards. The seven-year veteran has scored over 30 points three times in this series, and he is averaging 28.6 points on 45% shooting.
The Thunder showed great poise by erasing a 25 point third quarter deficit in an elimination game in game five thanks to Russell Westbrook. Paul George and Westbrook were the only two OKC players reaching double-digits in points in game five, and they will likely need more secondary scoring to have a chance in this series. Carmelo Anthony has struggled, shooting below 39% in four of five games, and he played a series-low 25 minutes in game five. OKC averaged 107.9 points in the regular season, ranking them 12th in the NBA. They held opponents to 104.4 points, good for 10th in the NBA.
Jazz Watch 25 Point Lead Evaporate, Can’t Close Series
The Utah Jazz only scored 43 points in the second half in their rough game five loss. The Jazz only converted on 40.7% of their field goals, however they were able to out-rebound the Thunder 56-52. Jazz’ leading scorer Donovan Mitchell wasn’t at his best in the defeat, netting 23 points on a 1 for 7 mark from beyond the arc. Overall, the 21-year old rookie shooting guard is having a strong series, averaging 26.6 points on 44.4% shooting. Joe Ingles played well in game five, sinking 16 points on a 5 for 11 shooting performance. The 30-year old small forward has been effective from deep, drilling a combined 14 three-pointers in his last three games, and he is posting an average of 14.6 points on 46% shooting from three-point range in this series.
The Jazz will now start feeling the pressure to close this series out on their home court, and their collapse in game five will be fresh on their minds. Overall, the Jazz have received a steady contribution throughout their lineup with six players averaging double-digits in points in this series. Ricky Rubio wasn’t sharp in game five, however he is averaging 16.8 points in the series. Utah scored an average of 104.1 points in regular season action, ranking them 19th overall. They are an outstanding defensive team, limiting the opposition to an average of 99.8 points in the regular season, good for second in the NBA.
The Oklahoma City Thunder are:
- 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games following an ATS win.
- 3-8 ATS in their last 11 games when their opponent allows 100 or more points in their previous game.
- 4-13-1 ATS in their last 18 Friday games.
The Utah Jazz are:
- 4-0 ATS in their last 4 home games.
- 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games when their opponent scores 100 or more points in their previous game.
- the home team is 4-1 ATS in the last 5 meetings between the Thunder and Jazz.
I am taking the Jazz in game six. The Jazz have out-rebounded the Thunder in four consecutive games, and they have also limited the Thunder to an average of 100 points in their last four games. OKC is relying heavily on Paul George and Russell Westbrook, while Utah has received a wide contribution from their entire team including Rubio, Ingles and Gobert who are all averaging over 14 points in the series. Furthermore, the Jazz are the better defensive team and they have held the Thunder to below 44% shooting in three of their last four games in this series. The Jazz are dominant on their home court, and I am confident their depth and defense will play a key role in a solid win.
Pick: Utah Jazz
The Jazz have played terrific defense on their home court in this series, and the Thunder’ scoring has been widely inconsistent. I expect the Jazz to contain OKC’s scoring as they held them to an average of 99 points in game three and four, plus the under is 8-2 in their last 10 home games against the Thunder. Both teams have shot below 46% in the last two games of this series, and the under is 15-6 in the last 21 meetings between these two combatants.