National Basketball Association
Utah at Oklahoma City
When: 9:30 PM ET, Wednesday, April 25, 2018
Where: Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
The Utah Jazz won the last three games of a contentious Western Conference first-round series and aim to close out Oklahoma City when they visit the Thunder in Wednesday's Game 5. The Jazz averaged 114 points while winning two games on their home floor and now look to hand Oklahoma City a bitter home setback.
The hotter Utah shoots and the better it plays, the more heated the emotions and tussles have become between the squads. "This is the playoffs. It's going to be war," Jazz point guard Ricky Rubio said after Game 4. "You're playing seven games and you've got to win four. We know that it's going to be another war next game, and we just need to be tough but at the same time mentally ready for that. We're not backing down, but at the same time we know we have to be ready for a fight and respond." The Thunder very much know their backs are against the wall as they also face the prospect of forward Paul George leaving as a free agent. "We gotta win. Nothing to it. We've just gotta win," Oklahoma City forward Carmelo Anthony told reporters. "We can sit here and say what we gotta do, or what we didn't do or what we did do, but it comes down to having the will to win that game Wednesday and forcing a Game 6 back in Utah and taking it from there."TV:
9:30 p.m. ET, NBATV, AT&T SportsNet Rocky Mountain (Utah), FS OklahomaABOUT THE JAZZ:
Standout guard Donovan Mitchell is averaging 27.5 points and 8.5 rebounds as the best player in the series and his 33-point effort in Game 4 represents the most scored by a rookie in franchise playoff history, surpassing Karl Malone (31 in 1986). "It's definitely an honor to have a record like that," Mitchell told reporters. "Definitely an honor. No doubt about that, but we have one more game, so I'm focused on that." Rubio is having a solid series with averages of 18.5 points, eight assists, 7.8 rebounds and two steals while small forward Joe Ingles has exposed George the past two games while knocking down 10 3-pointers and averaging 20.5 points.ABOUT THE THUNDER:
George scored 32 points and Westbrook contributed 23 points and 14 rebounds in Game 4 but the team's 5-of-26 effort from 3-point range helped sink their chances. "We were aggressive. We were in attack mode," George told reporters. "We were aggressive. We missed shots. I don't think all season long we've finished a game with only five 3-pointers. We missed shots." Westbrook notched a double-double in each game - three are of the points/rebounds variety - while averaging 21.3 points, 11.8 rebounds and 8.3 assists but is shooting just 36.7 percent from the field.BUZZER BEATERS
1. Westbrook was fined $10,000 by the NBA and handed a postgame technical foul for coming on the court as a sub and confronting Utah C Rudy Gobert during Game 4.
2. Gobert has recorded three straight double-doubles and is averaging 15.3 points and 11 rebounds in the series.
3. Anthony is shooting just 37.3 percent in the series while averaging 14.3 points and 6.5 rebounds in the series.PREDICTION:
Thunder 113, Jazz 108
Stats and Records