On Friday night the whole world was watching to see if the Utah Jazz could close their first round playoff series at home and prevent a Game 7 on the road against the Oklahoma City Thunder. The NBA world was looking to see who would step up to win this pivotal Game 6. Despite losing Ricky Rubio early in the first quarter to injury, Donavan Mitchell was able to lead his team to a win over Russell Westbrook’s Thunder. Mitchell scored 38 point on 50% shooting from the field. Regardless of who was guarding him, Mitchell simply found ways to make plays for his team throughout the game.
On the other hand, this game highlighted a lot of the issues that plagued the thunder this season. From Paul George scoring only 5 points, to Carmelo Anthony being benched for the majority of the second half. While Westbrook gave a heroic effort scoring 46 points, it simply was not enough to beat this Utah team. Throughout the series, these two teams contrasted in so many different ways. OKC did not mange their talent advantage effectively- forcing poor isolation calls.
In contrast, despite being lead by a rookie, Utah was able to play team basketball, finding the open man and creating the best shot possible (a la San Antonio). The two styles competed but ultimately, Utah’s offensive play calling and defense proved too powerful for OKC. Now OKC is going to have a lot of decisions to make with Paul George being a free agent. How do they build and what moves need to be made to make them competitive in the West? For Utah, its going to be extremely challenging playing against Houston, but if they continue to play great team defense and share the basketball- they can beat anybody.