by Madysson Morris with video from David Garrett
The Oklahoma City Thunder kicked off postseason basketball by putting the “Energy” in Chesapeake Energy Arena Sunday night.
After finishing as a fourth seed in the Western Conference, the Thunder welcomed the fifth-seeded Utah Jazz for game one of the 2018 NBA Playoffs and gave Thunder fans a 116-108 win to celebrate.
The Thunder won their season series against Utah 3-1, but the Jazz were without their star center Rudy Gobert for two of their three losses, and OKC’s Andre Roberson was present for all four games.
Gobert gave the Jazz 14 points, while rookie Donovan Mitchell led the way for Utah picking up 27 points and 10 rebounds. Mitchell was taken off the court in the second half with left foot soreness, but was able to return in the fourth quarter.
OKC’s Paul George (labeling himself “Playoff P” in a pregame interview) led the way for the Thunder tonight scoring 36 points and set a playoff record for Oklahoma City with eight 3-pointers. The previous record for OKC was five. PG shot 8-11 from behind the arc and went 13-20 from the field. This is George’s first playoff action with the Thunder after being acquired in an off-season trade with the Indiana Pacers.
Russell Westbrook served as a strong presence on the court finishing with 29 points, 13 rebounds and eight assists. Russ may have gone 0-4 from 3-point range, but he was able to sink 10-25 from the field and was perfect 9-9 from the free throw line.
Corey Brewer was questionable for tonight’s matchup with a right knee sprain he suffered during the Thunder’s regular season finale over the Memphis Grizzlies this past Wednesday. He refrained from practice on Friday, but Brewer was in the starting lineup for the Thunder tonight and ended with 7 points playing 34 minutes. Carmelo Anthony finished the night with 15 points, scoring his 1,700th playoff point, Steven Adams picked up 12 points and seven rebounds, and Alex Abrines was excellent from 3-point range going 3-5 and going 4-7 from the field.
The Thunder will be back in action Wednesday night at 7p.m. with home-court advantage for game two of the playoffs against the Utah Jazz.
Check out full Thunder postgame coverage from David Garrett.