SALT LAKE CITY — For the second straight season, the Utah Jazz are headed to the Western Conference semifinals.
With starting point guard Ricky Rubio out (he left the game with 4:52 left in the first quarter with a hamstring injury), the Jazz struggled offensively for most of the first half.
Donovan Mitchell led the charge as the Jazz rallied to tie the game at halftime and then built a double-digit lead in the third quarter. Mitchell was slowed by a fifth foul, but the Jazz held on to win 96-91.
Utah will play Game 1 of the next series against the Houston Rockets on Sunday at 1:30 p.m. MDT.
Turning point: With time running down in the second half, Donovan Mitchell made a driving layup to tie the game at 41-41 and give the Jazz momentum going into the second half.
The hero: Donovan Mitchell went toe-to-toe with Russell Westbrook, scoring a team-high 38 points on 14 of 26 shooting. Westbrook led the Thunder with 46 points on 18 of 43 shooting.
• Mitchell is the first rookie since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in 1970 to score at least 20 points in his first six playoff games.
• The Jazz started the game ice-cold scoring just 18 points in the first quarter, the team’s lowest total for a quarter in the series.
• Paul George struggled, shooting just 2 of 16 from the field for five points.
Utah wins 4-2
Game 1: OKC 116, Utah 108
Game 2: Utah 102, OKC 95
Game 3: Utah 115, OKC 102
Game 4: Utah 113, OKC 96
Game 5: OKC 107, Utah 99
Game 6: Utah 96, OKC 91
Western Conference semifinals
Game 1: Utah at Houston, 1:30 p.m.