In Game 3 of the Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Utah Jazz first-round series, Ricky Rubio turned on the switch. He became an unexpected great offensive option for the Jazz. He finished the first half with 19 points, seven rebounds, and six assists, fully taking control of the game. It felt as though the whole world was against Westbrook and the Thunder when Rubio looked like a complete All-Star point guard. He brought the fire and competitiveness to Vivint Arena in his first home playoff game, which got them the win.
Utah has the momentum entering Game 4 of the first round. Finishing with a triple-double of 26 points, eleven rebounds, and ten assists, Rubio’s top performance was one for the Utah Jazz franchise to remember. He became so comfortable once his shot was flowing from mid-range that he expanded his range. Knocking down a couple threes seemed like the norm. He showed off his incredible vision, coming off the pick and roll option and finding the open skip man for the shot. We saw a lot of perimeter shooters like Joe Ingles and Donovan Mitchell be able to catch and shoot even through contested shots. Rudy Gobert also played aggressively on both sides of the ball, showing his presence as a DPOY candidate. If Rubio could play like that every game, the Thunder would be in major trouble.
In this interview, Russell Westbrook simply guarantees Rubio’s success will be shut down in Game 4.
Thunder's Russell Westbrook on Ricky Rubio's strong Game 3 performance: "He made some shots. Too comfortable. I'ma shut that s— off next game though. Guarantee that." pic.twitter.com/jHo9cbZt3n
— Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) April 22, 2018
In Russell Westbrook’s case, he’s ready to stop this Ricky Rubio guy. That surely did not happen on Sunday when Rubio literally was having a ball. Down 2-1 in the series, this should actually be scary for the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Thunder are disadvantaged entering Game 4 in Vivint Arena and needs to pull out a win. That is if they want to really keep their hopes high for advancing to the next round. Westbrook must play better defense and show that he’s capable of stopping Rubio and/or Donovan Mitchell if they want to win this series. Overall, the whole team defense needs to improve and step up. If Ricky Rubio has the opportunity to create and contribute to the competitive level that he did last game, it’ll be another loss for the Thunder.
Game 4 of the Oklahoma City Thunder/ Utah Jazz series continues tonight in Utah @ 10:30 P.M. ET.