Ge­orge game-win­ner val­i­dates sta­tus as MVP con­tender, says Jazz coach

Sun Star Bacolod - - Prime Sports -

PAUL Ge­orge cut through two de­fend­ers, lofted a shot over 7-foot-1 Rudy Gobert and waited just like ev­ery­one else.

Ge­orge’s high-arch­ing lob fell with less than a sec­ond re­main­ing in dou­bleover­time, cap­ping a 45point night with the win­ning shot in the Ok­la­homa City Thun­der’s 148-147 vic­tory over the Utah Jazz on Fri­day (Sat­ur­day, Manila time).

Ge­orge drib­bled out the fi­nal sec­onds be­fore mak­ing his move and con­nect­ing with 0.8 sec­onds re­main­ing.

“I knew I just had to step over and put it up,” Ge­orge said. “I saw a lit­tle gap and so I put up the floater. It’s a shot I work (on). Just thank God it went in.”

Kyle Korver got off a des­per­ate 3 for Utah, but it went long as the buzzer sounded.

“Tip your hat to him for mak­ing that play,” Jazz coach Quinn Sny­der said of Ge­orge. “It’s a heck­uva play and that’s why he is who he is. He’s right there in the MVP con­ver­sa­tion. It cer­tainly looked like that tonight.”

Rus­sell West­brook added 43 points, 15 re­bounds and eight as­sists, help­ing Ok­la­homa City over­come 38 points from Dono­van Mitchell. West­brook fouled out with 1:09 left in the first over­time, end­ing his NBA streak of 11 con­sec­u­tive games with a triple-dou­ble.

The teams were well rested com­ing off an All-star break that in­cluded an ex­tra day off af­ter many other teams re­sumed ac­tion on Thurs­day. Ok­la­homa City is chas­ing Den­ver for the No. 2 spot in the Western Con­fer­ence, and coach Billy

Dono­van was pleased with his team’s ef­fort late into the night.

The game went to over­time af­ter the

Thun­der’s Jerami

Grant com­pleted a ty­ing three-point play, then blocked

Mitchells shot at the other end.

Grant had 18 points.

In the first over­time, Ab­del

Nader hit a 3pointer to give the

Thun­der a 139137 lead in the fi­nal minute af­ter West­brook and Fer­gu­son had fouled out. Gobert tipped in the ty­ing bas­ket with 33.7 sec­onds left, and Ge­orge and Mitchell each missed jumpers in the clos­ing sec­onds.

Gobert hit two free throws with 1:10 left in the sec­ond over­time for a 147146 lead, but Utah went cold from there. Mitchell’s driv­ing shot off the glass missed the rim, and Joe In­gles missed on a long 3-point try as the shot clock ex­pired with 13.2 sec­onds left.

Steven Adams played a game-high 47 min­utes for Ok­la­homa City, re­turn­ing from a pre-all-star break an­kle in­jury to score 16 points and grab 10 re­bounds to go along with five steals.

The teams were phys­i­cal through­out. West­brook got a fla­grant foul for crash­ing into Gobert while de­fend­ing a layup, and there was a fra­cas late in the first half af­ter Jae Crow­der fouled the Thun­der’s Den­nis Schroder./ap

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