The Utah Jazz and Oklahoma City Thunder will begin their first-round playoff series on Sunday afternoon. "There are people who will say, 'I would rather play the Warriors right now in the first round than the Thunder or the Jazz.' Right now".
Russell Westbrook has put up MVP numbers again this year even though he won't be among the favorites to win the award for the second straight year. He grabbed No. 16 early in the third quarter and received a standing ovation in the moment. Westbrook had a near triple-double in Game 1, coming up with 29 points, 13 rebounds, and eight assists, while Anthony had 15 points on 5-for-13 shooting from the field. I take pride in what I do. There is no playoff version of Russell Westbrook - there's just Russell Westbrook - but he can rise and fall in terms of efficiency and decision-making.
He raced up the floor during a high-paced game, creating spot-up opportunities for shooters on the fast break or secondary break.
Utah owe their defensive prowess mainly to frontcourt players Rudy Gobert, who has an outstanding defensive rating of 97.7.
George shot it a little better against the Rockets, then a little better against the Miami Heat two nights later, and then shredded the Grizzlies for 40 points on 13-of-20 shooting on the final night of the regular season. He's certainly on the downhill of a stellar National Basketball Association career, but I'm going to take this moment and give proper due to Melo really working hard to contribute, not just with his frustrating isolation plays, but with spirited defensive effort. "Obviously, I was hot tonight, but that's the level I'm going to bring it every night".
Gobert, at 7-foot-1 and 245 pounds, is a front-runner for top defensive player.More news: Giants' GM expresses interest in Dez Bryant after releasing Brandon Marshall
More news: Saquon Barkley's agents don't want him to go to Cleveland
More news: Carroll rescues late point for West Ham
On the defensive end of the court, the Thunder leads the league in deflections per game. There is no timetable on his return. He wasn't able to connect from three, but he was the team's talisman in other ways.
It needed those victories, too.
As for Westbrook, Oklahoma City's leader started off slowly but gained steam as the game went on.
Now, it has an opportunity. Mitchell has been incredible all year long, but coaches will have extra time to prepare for him in the postseason to find his weaknesses and what types of schemes he struggles against. "He did a really good job with that".
"He changed the game for us", Westbrook said.