Jazz crush Thunder to take 3-1 series lead

The Oklahoma City Thunder played an inspired and physical first half against the Utah Jazz, but despite an opening quarter punch in the mouth that saw OKC leading by 6, the Jazz went into halftime break with a six point lead of their own.

After a game three loss, Russell Westbrook guaranteed he would stop Ricky Rubio’s excellent play, and followed through by committing four first half fouls in game four, all at the hands of Rubio. After Westbrook up his fourth, the Jazz outscored the Thunder 8-3 over the final 1:36 of the first half, and never gave back their lead in the game.

Coming out in the second half, the Jazz lead quickly ballooned up to 15 points two minutes into the third quarter, and the blow out was on. Westbrook would pick up five fouls in a mostly harmless 36 minutes on the floor, despite his 23 points and 14 rebounds.

The Thunder’s physicality was a new fixture in game four, leading to seven total technical fouls, including a Jae Crowder ejection, but the Jazz quickly matched the aggressive tone and found a way to execute through the adversity.

Donovan Mitchell had fourth consecutive game with 20 points or more in as many playoff games, this time finishing with 33 points, seven rebounds and four assists. Mitchell finished with zero turnovers in 39 minutes.

Paul George led the Thunder with 32 points, doing most of his damage from the free throw line where he connected with all 12 of his attempts. George was visibly flustered with the defense of Joe Ingles, Royce O’Neale and ante Exum during his 39 minutes performance.

Ingles recorded his second consecutive 20 point, five three-point performance, despite an 0-4 start to the game from the field. Ingles finished the game 6-8 from the field and 5-7 from three after the slow start.

The Jazz will head back to OKC with a commanding 3-1 lead.

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