After being down by as many as 25 in the third quarter, the Oklahoma City Thunder made one of the greatest comebacks in National Basketball Association playoff history.
Utah blew a 25-point lead in the second half as it couldn't fend off a strong rally from Russell Westbrook, who had 45 points and 15 rebounds.
Ricky Rubio gave respect to the Thunder, led as they were by Westbrook and George, for their storming of the Jazz after it looked as though Utah was on the verge of dropping the hammer on OKC and shoving them off the cliff of playoff elimination. Thanks to George's clutch 34 points and eight rebounds. Those players alone shot 20 for 35 (and 6 for 9 from 3-point range) in the final 20 minutes of Game 5 against Utah, while the Jazz shot 11 for 36, 1 for 16 from 3-point range. Here are five takeaways heading into Game 6 on the road. That's exactly what Utah wants OKC's offense to look like and it wasn't a tremendous amount different than the offense that generated just 12 points in the second quarter.
"We have had success but eventually it's not going to work and we have to play better defence as guards ourselves".
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Certainly the Thunder will want to emulate much of what they did in the third and fourth quarters of Game 5 and erase most of what they did for the greater portion of this series. He got to the line and was dishing out assists as the Thunder knotted the game at 78 by the end of the third.
Westbrook finished with 45 points, seven rebounds and 15 assists, supported offensively by George (34 points), the only two OKC players to register double points. After getting ejected in Game 4, he scored a career playoff-high 27 points in Game 5.
Despite his pleading, Melo did not return to action until the 7:58 mark of the fourth quarter - OKC leading 88-87 at the time.
Some thought the league office would suspend Westbrook for Game 5 because he left the sideline, but he got away with just the fine and technical.
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"We were having a hard time", said Donovan, "and then Russell and Paul gave us life".
All-Star duo DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry helped the Toronto Raptors take a 3-2 series lead with a 108-98 win over the Washington Wizards. The overall plus-minus numbers make it hilariously clear who changed the game.
If needed, a series-deciding game seven will be a Thunder home game. The Jazz have out-rebounded the Thunder in four consecutive games, and they have also limited the Thunder to an average of 100 points in their last four games.
Game 6 is Friday at Salt Lake City.
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It was no coincidence that OKC's rally happened with Anthony on the bench.