Thunder fans could not have asked for a better game to kickoff the final 25 games of the regular season after All-Star break than what they got tonight.
The Oklahoma City Thunder took an 8:30 p.m. tip-off into double overtime tonight as the Utah Jazz came to town and walked away with a 148-147 win in the end thanks to Paul George’s last second floater, Russell Westbrook’s season high 3-point shooting, and the team’s overall fight to claw out a win.
The Jazz came out firing shooting 100 percent all the way up to the first timeout called at the 6:50 mark in the first quarter where Utah led 21-15. Although the Thunder offense was looking promising with guys like Steven Adams handling Rudy Gobert with ease, and Jerami Grant getting some great offensive looks, the Jazz looked like the more refreshed team going 8-8 from the floor, 2-2 from downtown, and 3-3 from the charity stripe.
When it came down to the wire, however, the Thunder fought through to force double overtime, and with Abdel Nader knocking down a crucial corner 3 in the first overtime, great overall Thunder defense, and of course Paul George giving another MVP-like performance to close out the game, the Thunder were able to take care of business tonight with the first game of a back-to-back on their home court, especially with Russell Westbrook on the bench with six fouls.
Westbrook finished the game with 43 points, 15 rebounds, and 8 assists having the best shooting night of this season, and surpassing his season high made 3’s with six going 6-13 from downtown.
Paul George made some serious noise picking 17 of his 45 points in the fourth quarter alone and being the key factor to reaching success at the end of extra minutes. George heard an eruption of MVP chants toward the end of the game, and sinking a floater to extend the Thunder to 148-147 with 0.8 seconds left in 2OT, his heroics moved the Thunder to win No. 38 of the season.
Newly added to the Thunder roster, Markieff Morris made his Thunder debut not even three minutes into the game when he came in for Jerami Grant at the 8:30 mark in Q1. Grant went out with two quick fouls, and Morris played a total of 17:06.
Morris, who had not played a game since December when he was still with the Washington Wizards, said he has some rust to shake off, but he is feeling good and is ready to get to work with his new team. He finished 0-1 from the floor, but he was able to pose a major threat to Utah’s offense contesting the first missed shot of the night for the Jazz, and he found Nerlens Noel early in the fourth quarter to connect for Nerlens to have a nice lay in.
The Thunder will have to keep this energy going as they head into the second night of a back-to-back with the Sacramento Kings in town, and they will be back in action inside Chesapeake Energy Arena at 7 p.m. on Saturday night.
The Thunder advance to 38-20 in the season, 21-7 on their home court, while the Utah Jazz 32-26, 14-16 on the road.
Watch below to see a full postgame wrap-up, including postgame pressers from Markieff Morris, Abdel Nader, and Paul George.