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