SALT LAKE CITY — Monday’s Game 4 between Utah and Oklahoma City was marked by several incidents of physicality and verbal exchanges between the two teams, with seven technical fouls being called.
Make that eight.
Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook was assessed a “postgame technical foul” for a verbal and physical confrontation with Utah’s Rudy Gobert midway through the fourth quarter Monday night.
There was speculation that Westbrook could be suspended for Wednesday night’s game because of an NBA policy that players who leave the bench during on-court scuffles such as the one between Gobert and Raymond Felton.
Westbrook had been waiting to check in, so he wasn’t on the bench or in the game when he said something to Gobert and gave him a little shove as he walked by on his way to the Jazz bench.
A ruling had been expected all day, but wasn’t announced by NBA Communications until nearly 8 p.m. EDT. Besides being assessed a technical foul, Westbrook was fined $10,000, but he will be eligible to play Wednesday.
FIRST ASSIST: Usually NBA teams bring two, or perhaps three, players to postgame press conferences during the playoffs. The Utah Jazz have been bringing four players, which makes for some entertaining exchanges between the players as they sit together on the podium
After Monday’s win, Joe Ingles was asked a question, but with Gobert, Donovan Mitchell and Ricky Rubio sitting to his left, there weren’t enough microphones.
So when Gobert slid a microphone in front of Ingles, the Australian drew laughter from the media when he said, “Thanks Rudy, that’s your first assist.”
Ingles pointed to the stat sheet and said, “it says zero right here,” only to have Gobert scan it and point out, correctly, that he did have one assist in the game.
FINAU GETS HELP: Utah PGA golfer Tony Finau, who made international news at the Masters earlier this month when he tore ligaments in his ankle after a hole-in-one celebration and went on to finish in a tie for 10th place, is a big Utah Jazz fan and was seen at a late-season game.
The Salt Lake native recently tweeted about the help he’s received from Utah Jazz trainers and the University of Utah Orthopedic Center.
“I've learned so much these last 2 weeks about my ankle and the supporting muscles thanks to Mike Elliott, Tony Giovacchini, Jordan Harding, Travis Maak & Kim Cohee. Thank you for working with me on a daily basis to get me ready and back on tour ASAP,” Finau wrote.
JAZZ NOTES: With 33 points, Donovan Mitchell set a Jazz rookie postseason single-game scoring record, surpassing Karl Malone’s 31 points against Dallas on April 20, 1986. Mitchell also became the first rookie to score 30-plus points in a playoff game since Brandon Jennings in 2010. Only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Michael Jordan scored at least 110 points in their first four playoff games as Mitchell has done . Every Jazz starter has scored in double figures in the two playoff games at Vivint Arena.