The Jazz broke away from Oklahoma City in the third quarter, thanks to the scoring of rookie star Donovan Mitchell and the playmaking of Rubio, to make a tightly wound game start unraveling.
Utah busted the Thunder up, utterly and without remorse, with consecutive 3-pointers by Mitchell and Ingles leading both coaches to empty their benches — perhaps, given how chippy things had become by that point, a few minutes too late — and let the reserves finish off a 113-96 Jazz win .
Twenty of Mitchell’s points came in the second half to help propel Utah to the dominating victory, and to put the Rookie of the Year hopeful into some awfully rarefied air as he continues the stellar start to his postseason career:
Rubio’s shot-making didn’t carry over — 13 points on 4-for-12 shooting, just 1-for-6 from 3-point range — but he played a strong floor game, dishing eight assists and grabbing six rebounds while teaming with Gobert to lead a defense that once again stifled the Thunder’s attack.
Ingles would drill corner 3s on the next two Jazz trips, sending the Salt Lake City crowd through the roof, before Mitchell drove for a layup in the closing seconds to give Utah a 58-52 lead entering halftime.
To start the third quarter, OKC’s Donovan juggled his defensive matchups, putting Westbrook on Ingles rather than Rubio — perhaps for fear of picking up a quick fifth foul — George on Mitchell, and Corey Brewer on Utah’s Spanish point guard.
First, Thunder reserve Raymond Felton took a swipe at Gobert, leading to a skirmish that escalated a bit when Westbrook — who wasn’t in the game at that point — slid over to get in the French center’s face over the matter:
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