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SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Jazz took control late in the first half and thundered to a 113-96 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game 4 of their playoff series on Monday night at Vivint Arena to take a 3-1 series lead.

Turning point: Joe Ingles hit three 3-pointers in the final two minutes of the first half to help give Utah a 58-52 halftime lead after the Jazz made just 4 of 16 from 3-point range to start the game. Utah never trailed again.


The hero: Rookie guard Donovan Mitchell continued to impress in his first playoff series, scoring a game-high 33 points to go with seven rebounds and four assists as five Jazz players finished in dougle figures. Mitchell set the franchise single-game rookie postseason scoring record, passing 31 points from Karl Marlone in a 1986 game.


3 keys

  • Utah ended the first half on a 20-9 run, then followed it with a 12-2 run to start the third quarter.
    • Russell Westbrook had four fouls in the first half. He finished the game with five in a physical contest that features seven technical fouls and Jae Crowder being ejected in the fourth.
    • The Thunder shot 52.4 percent from the field in the first quarter but cooled off considerably after that, finishing the game at 39.3 percent.
Series status:
Utah leads 3-1

Game 1: OKC 116, Utah 108

Game 2: Utah 102, OKC 95

Game 3: Utah 115, OKC 102

Game 4: Utah 113, OKC 96

Game 5: Utah at OKC, Wednesday, 7:30 p.m. MT (ATTSN & NBA TV)

Game 6: OKC at Utah, Friday, TBD*

Game 7: Utah at OKC, Sunday, TBD*

*if necessary

Full Story from the Deseret News...
I want you to remember the number 25. That's how many games the Jazz won in 2014. My rookie season. It's very possible that you didn't know that. Unless you've been a real fan (shout out, Swat Lake City) it's very possible you don't spend a lot of time thinking about the Utah Jazz. We all ...

Full Story from The Player’s Tribune...
The Jazz decisively won the point guard battle in Game 3. For a night, Russ was no match for Ricky.

OKC went into a frenzied Utah crowd and couldn’t overcome an inconsistent shooting night from their Big 3, eventually falling to the Ricky Rubio-led Jazz, 115-102. Utah gained a 2-1 edge in the series.

Bad Russ Kills the Thunder

It was bound to happen. After two Russell Westbrook performances on par with much of his regular season, the Thunder’s main attraction scored 14 points on a terrible 5-of-17 shooting from the field and coughed up eight turnovers. For some context: The Thunder lost the ball 17 times, and the Jazz took advantage, scoring a whopping 33 points off them.

Billy Donovan’s decision to go small early in the game seemed to have thrown the staunch Utah defense and their anchor Rudy Gobert for a loop. But playing Gobert out onto the perimeter only works if players like Patrick Patterson or Jerami Grant can serve as credible outside shooting threats. The two only attempted three 3-pointers total and finished with 15 combined points. Gobert had 18 of his own. Quin Snyder didn’t bite on the Thunder’s adjustment. Gobert, in turn, rewarded Snyder for his faith, deterring everything at the rim, and forcing Russ into both bad passes that led to turnovers and cringeworthy mid-range jumpers. When switched onto Russ, sometimes Gobert didn’t even have to do much but watch Russ step into a bad shot instead of trying to blow past him. It was exactly what Utah wanted.

Rudy Gobert marretando com VIOLÊNCIA no contra ataque. Lindo passe picado do Rubio! #NBAnaESPN pic.twitter.com/hT3R6EdbwS

— Camisa 23 (@camisa_23)...​
Salt Lake Tribune’s Tony Jones reports that Kokoskov has met with Phoenix.

It seems that front offices around the league have taken note of the Utah Jazz’s success. More importantly, how they have created such success: their elite coaching staff. It was only a matter of time before we started hearing rumors of one of Quin Snyder’s assistant coaches being poached from him. It appears that Igor Kokoskov could be the first one to leave the nest. Tony Jones of the Salt Lake Tribune is reporting that Igor Kokoskov has interviewed with the Phoenix Suns for the head coaching vacancy in land of the sun.

Utah Jazz assistant Igor Kokoskov recently interviewed for the Phoenix Suns coaching vacancy, league sources tell The Salt Lake Tribune

— Tony Jones (@tribjazz) April 21, 2018

Full Story from SLCDunk...
Rudy Gobert showed big men still matter in a perimeter-oriented NBA by closing down OKC in Game 2.

The Oklahoma City Thunder lost Game 2 of their series against the Utah Jazz entirely in the fourth quarter. OKC was up five heading into the period, with the team’s predominant concern being foul trouble for Steven Adams and perhaps an understanding that wonder rookie Donovan Mitchell was starting to get cooking.

They should have been concerned about the lid that was apparently secretly installed on the Thunder’s hoop during the break.

Full Story from SBNation...