OKLAHOMA CITY — The OKC Thunder shook off a slow start to roll past the Utah Jazz in Game 1 of their first-round seven-game series. Tied at 25-all at the end of the first quarter, the Thunder gradually extended their lead in the second, third and fourth quarters, winning 116-108 on Sunday evening.
The Jazz got off to a dream start, leading 16-4, keyed by three dunks (Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert) and two 3-pointers (Joe Ingles and Mitchell). However, OKC’s big three went on a 12-0 run to tie up the game.
Turning point: Paul George hit a back-breaking step-back jumper as time expired in the third quarter, giving OKC an 81-72 lead going into the final quarter.
The hero: George destroyed the Jazz with lights-out shooting. He made 13 of 20 from the field and 8 of 11 from 3-point range for a game-high 36 points.
• Playing in his first playoff game, Donovan Mitchell shook off an injury to his toe to lead the Jazz with 27 points on 11-of-22 shooting.
• Jae Crowder gave Utah a lift from the bench with 11 points, four rebounds, two assists and two steals.
• Alec Burks came in late and hit 4 of 5 from the field, scoring 10 points in two minutes to give OKC a scare late in the game.
OKC leads 1-0
Game 1: OKC 116, Utah 108
Game 2: Utah at OKC, Wednesday, 6 p.m. (ATTSN & NBATV)
Game 3: OKC at Utah, Saturday, 8 p.m. (ATTSN & ESPN)
Game 4: OKC at Utah, Monday, 8:30 p.m. (ATTSN & TNT)
Game 5: Utah at OKC, April 25, TBD*
Game 6: OKC at Utah, April 27, TBD*
Game 7: Utah at OKC, April 29, TBD*