Oklahoma City Coach Billy Donovan was more concerned about what would happen at the end of Saturday night’s Game 3 vs. the Jazz than the start, but he could be forgiven for hoping that either the Jazz’s Quin Snyder or the referees would have to call the first timeout Saturday night.
The Thunder never made it to the first scheduled media timeout — inside of seven minutes to play in the first quarter — before Donovan was forced to use a timeout in an effort to stop the Jazz’s initial bursts in the first two games of the series.
The good news for Oklahoma City is that whatever Donovan said in the huddles worked immediately each time.
“Coming on the road, you don’t want to do that,” Donovan said after the Thunder’s shootaround Saturday.
Donovan’s timeouts allowed his team to “just kind of let the jitters go, let the game slow down, and then start playing our game,” Thunder forward Paul George said.
The Thunder starters were out of the huddle and propped against the scorers’ table with more than a minute remaining in each timeout.
In that case, Jazz coach Quin Snyder said, “Our guys really responded.”
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