Jazz's third-quarter meltdown in OKC stems largely from Gobert's foul trouble

The Jazz were up by as much as 25 points (71-56) in the third quarter of Game 5 against the Thunder.

The problem with trying to recreate the effort is that there are aspects of a 25-point comeback that only happen once in a blue moon for any team.

Westbrook hit back-to-back 3-pointers, then made a layup with 5:07 left in the third quarter to cut Utah's lead to 73-60.

For the first time in the series, the home team was able to get to the rim nearly at will as the Jazz's defensive anchor Rudy Gobert was in foul trouble for much of the game, which also proved to be a decisive factor. The two Utah behemoths finished off easy looks at basket and drew a bunch of fouls.

The confrontation is the latest between the pair what has at times been a fiery series.

With just over nine and a half minutes remaining in the third quarter, the Thunder trailed by 20 points. That said, if OKC can do precisely that you have to believe it will play upon the Jazz psyche and give OKC an edge to do the unthinkable. "We felt them. That energy was unbelievable".

"Russell started being Russell Westbrook, I guess you could say", Thunder shooting guard Corey Brewer said. "I thought our team did a good job of staying together through it all". "They did an incredible job of sticking together".

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In his first playoff series since 2013, Carmelo Anthony is proving all those that criticized the Oklahoma City Thunder for making the trade that landed him right.

Maybe Anthony will make all those criticizing him eat their words in game 5 and going forward, but right now, he's in a tough spot, just like his team, knowing the nearly 34-year old forward has a $27.9 million contract next season. Fortunately, another great third quarter helped them end this series. He only went out of the game for a short time but was on the floor nearly as much as Westbrook and George.

Utah appeared more than on-track to humble the Thunder in front of an increasingly agitated OKC crowd. This is for certain: Without Gobert, they're a very lost team defensively.

"It wasn't about me or him", he said.

"We're going home", said Jae Crowder, who led the Jazz with 27 points in Game 5. Check back every night if you missed any National Basketball Association action and come back tomorrow for more National Basketball Association playoff fun.

"We knew it wasn't over right here. We just have to be tough but at the same time, mentally ready for that".

Fred Katz is the Thunder beat writer for the Norman Transcript and CNHI Oklahoma as well as the host of the postgame show, Thunder After Dark, and the OKC Dream Team, a weekly Thunder podcast that runs every Tuesday.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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