Ricky Rubio recorded his first triple-double in a Utah Jazz uniform, and the Jazz took a 2-1 series lead over the Oklahoma City Thunder with a 115-102 win in game three. Rubio’s 26 point, 11 rebound, 10 assist performance was the Jazz first triple double since Carlos Boozer did it in 2008.
Rubio played the bizarro role of Thunder guard Russell Westbrook who averaged a triple double for the second consecutive season this year. Westbrook limped to a miserable 14 point game on 5-17 shooting, and 8 turnovers that doomed the Thunder. OKC was able to keep the game within striking distance in a series that sees both teams continue to trade long scoring runs, but defensive miscues and lazy turnovers allowed the Jazz to keep the lead at arms length.
As impressive as Rubio’s stat-line was, Rudy Gobert may have again been the Jazz most impactful player, as he has been much of the season, allowing Jazz defenders to stay home on shooters when the Thunder’s stars were able to get penetration. The Thunder regularly saw themselves deep in the paint, hoping to find an open shooter to avoid Gobert’s length, only to start a Jazz fast break with an errant pass. Gobert again forced Steven Adams into foul trouble in the second half of the game, and keeping him off the floor for long stretches of basketball. Adams finished with 8 points and 2 rebounds in 26 minutes, and most importantly, no offensive rebounds for the game. It was only the second time all season Adams failed to corral an offensive board.
Donovan Mitchell continued his run of 20 point performances in the playoffs, finishing with 22 points on the night, though his scoring was far less crucial than it had been in the Jazz game two victory.
Joe Ingles found his shooting stroke for the first time in this series, going 5-10 from the three point line, and finishing the night with 21 points. Ingles had 16 points total through the first two games of the series.
The matchup to watch ahead of game 4 is Westbrook and Rubio. Rubio has badly outplayed Westbrook over the last two games of the series, and after the game, the Thunder guard appeared set on stemming Rubio’s recent play. When asked about Rubio’s hot shooting, Westbrook said he was “going to shut that s*** off next game.”
The Jazz host the Thunder on Monday night.