Jazz to Finally Quiet Thunder and Clinch Series Friday in Game 6

thunder jazz

Doug Upstone

Thursday, April 26, 2018 3:52 PM UTC

Thursday, Apr. 26, 2018 3:52 PM UTC

Oklahoma City staved off elimination at home in Game 5. However, it will be much more challenging to do so on the road Friday when Utah gets another chance to end the series.

NBA Friday: Thunder (4-9-1 ATS run) vs. Jazz (6-3 ATS run)Free NBA Pick: Jazz -6Best Line Offered: YouWager

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With Game 5 tied after three quarters on Wednesday night in Oklahoma City, the Thunder players either had to respond or go meekly and answer questions again as to why their "Big 3" version did not pan out. For a couple days at least, OKC now just has to focus on basketball, thanks to their clutch effort.

The Thunder won the fourth quarter 29-21 for a 107-99 victory, avoiding elimination in the first-round series, which they now trail 3-2. Russell Westbrook (45 points, 15 rebounds, seven assists) and Paul George (34 points, 8 boards) led the win. But this was never easy, as they once trailed by 25 and had to show courage, which was not this team's strong suit this season.

The series shifts back to Utah for Game 6 on Friday night. The NBA odds board has the Jazz as six-point favorites, with a total of 206.

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Utah Has Only Themselves To Blame

Whenever a team has a remarkable comeback to win a game, it is always best to understand both sides of the story. What Oklahoma City did was incredible, but the Jazz also blew it. During the regular season a loss like this stings, but giving away a near-certain victory in a seven-game series can be devastating.

"We stopped playing defense," Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell said. "We stopped getting back. Our offense got stagnant. They made adjustments and we didn't make the right adjustments back. We will watch the film and figure out what went wrong."

"We need to do a better job," Ricky Rubio said. "Of course, you have to give them credit. They made a lot of shots. They took their pride and forced a Game 6."

Utah has to stay aggressive throughout, and it will be imperative that Rudy Gobert and Derrick Flavors are not sitting on the bench with foul trouble like they were in Game 5. When the Jazz have played their game in this series, they have won. If they don't play their game Friday, there will be a Game 7.

OKC Needs More Than Westbrook and George

In all the excitement of the Thunder's come-from-behind win, coach Billy Donovan had a simple message to his team: "We will need all of you to win."

Westbrook and George scored 79 of OKC's 107 points. For one contest you can get away with that, but on the road, forget it. The rest of the Thunder's starters contributed a paltry 18 points and the bench a meager 10.

Carmelo Anthony and Steven Adams have to have more of an impact. Plus, Jerami Grant has to provide more off the bench. He's leading the reserves in minutes and needs to be a spark, not just a player giving a starter a rest.

What to Expect for Outcome

Utah's comments after game 5 expressed their frustration. Now back home, look for Jazz to have more of killer instinct and not let up if they build a working margin, just like what happened in Games 3 and 4 when they were home. For our NBA picks, make it Utah by 9 and heading to Houston next.

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