Paul George drops 36 with 8 triples in Thunder's Game 1 win

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They join Russell Westbrook in a quest for their first National Basketball Association title, starting Sunday when the Thunder host the Utah Jazz in Game 1 of their first-round Western Conference playoff series.

The focus from the Thunder after the game, specifically coach Billy Donovan, was that there's a lot to clean up for Game 2. OKC started to run better offense.

"When he's aggressive he changes the game for us, as you see tonight", Westbrook said of George. Two plays after that, he hit another. I'm gonna let Russ answer that one.

"I'm still sore", Brewer said, "but if I can walk, I'm going to play".


George lit up the Jazz, finishing with 36 points and making 13 of 20 shots, including eight of 11 from 3-point range. That same joke won't play the same anymore.

Davis said Westbrook was "out of his cotton-pickin' mind", an exclamation that came after the Oklahoma City guard made an assist in Wednesday's game on his way to setting an National Basketball Association record for averaging a triple-double in multiple seasons. Paul got it going. "Our job is to find him and make it easy for him". They made a big difference in the game, considering the rest of the Thunder were 3 of 13. When he coined his alter ego, "Playoff P", he wasn't actually talking about scoring. If he can punish Russell Westbrook for challenging him inside while also maintaining his 13.5 points per game to complement Donovan Mitchell, who we know will put up points, the Jazz will be a tough out. That's for the front office and him to discuss.

And Russell Westbrook has postseason aspirations, as he told Lesley McCaslin of the Thunder's television broadcast after the game. He mentioned multiple times they have to be better in Game 2. A few nights later, the night before the Thunder took on the Houston Rockets in Texas, George spent more than an hour by himself shooting in the Toyota Center's practice gym trying to work it out. And he got there by sinking all kinds of looks: spot ups, step-backs after razzle-dazzle dribbles and ones out of the pick-and-roll, too. Rudy Gobert is a favorite to be named the Defensive Player of the Year this season, but Steven Adams will make his life hard all series long. The Thunder swung intuitively from there. George said with a smile. They did, so we move on. "You've got to trust your teammates".

It's George, though, who possesses game-dominating qualities, like those he flashed in Game 1.


The Jazz need Derrick Favors to be better on defense when Rudy Gobert sits. He will certainly be challenged by George, who finished second in the National Basketball Association behind only James Harden as he drained a career-best 244 3-pointers. Paul George has a right hip contusion, however he should be good for game two.

It's unreasonable to expect nightly performances that match Sunday's.

The Thunder take a three-game win streak into the playoffs, with Thursday's (NZT) 137-123 home victory over the tanking Memphis Grizzlies enabling them to secure the all-important home advantage for the first-round series.


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