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On Saturday Cheap
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 , Thunder forward Paul George told reporters
about an alter-ego he calls ”Playoff P.” On Sunday, he gave the media, his
teammates and the Utah Jazz a formal introduction.

He scored 36 points to help Oklahoma City defeat Utah 116-108 in Game 1 of
their Western Conference playoff series Sunday night.

”That’s his new name?” seemingly perplexed teammate Carmelo Anthony asked
with a smile.

George lived up to it. He set an Oklahoma City playoff record with eight
3-pointers, blowing past the previous mark of five. He made eight of 11 shots
from long range, and 13 of 20 shots overall.

It was his first playoff game with the Thunder since being acquired in a
trade with the Indiana in the offseason. He had averaged more than 27 points per
game in the playoffs for the Pacers the past two years.

”I’m going to bring it to that level every night,” George said. ”Obviously, I
was hot tonight Authentic
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 , but that’s the level I’m going to bring every

Russell Westbrook had 29 points, 13 rebounds and eight assists and Anthony
added 15 points for the Thunder, who will host Game 2 on Wednesday.

Westbrook, who seemingly was Oklahoma City’s only scoring option for much of
last season, appreciated the help.

”When he’s aggressive, man, it changes the game for us Authentic Ian
Thomas Jersey
 ,” Westbrook said. ”You saw that tonight. He had it
going. Our job is to make sure we find him, make it easy for him. As long as he
stays aggressive, we’ll be a better team.”

Many of George’s makes were contested. His success made it difficult for the
Jazz to cover other players.

”He made a couple and we changed up what we were doing, and he went to
something else,” Jazz coach Quin Snyder said. ”He went to pick-and-roll and he
made a couple more, and then we tried to take him and he passed the ball.”

Utah doesn’t expect George to keep making those tough shots.

”If those shots start to affect you, then the whole game plan goes
away Jorge
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 ,” said rookie Donovan Mitchell, who led the Jazz
with 27 points and 10 rebounds. ”So we just kept sticking with it, and
hopefully, he doesn’t go 8 for 11 the rest of the series. But we played great
defense, and we are proud of that.”

Mitchell left the game in the second half with left foot soreness. He
returned, but played sporadically.

”I feel fine,” he said. ”Think I just stubbed my toe. Nothing major.”

Rudy Gobert scored 14 points Authentic
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 , and Joe Ingles and Jae Crowder each added
13 for the Jazz.

The Thunder recovered from a 16-4 deficit to tie it at 25 at the end of the
first quarter. Oklahoma City led 54-48 at halftime behind 20 points from George
and 14 from Westbrook.

George hit his seventh 3-pointer to push Oklahoma City’s lead to 79-66. He
hit a deep 2-pointer to close the quarter and give the Thunder an 81-72

Alex Abrines hit two 3-pointers early in the fourth quarter to give Oklahoma
City a 92-80 lead and force Utah to call timeout. The Thunder held off a surge
in the final minute.


Jazz: Mitchell made his first four shots, but just one of six the rest of the
first half. … Made just eight of 22 shots in the second quarter. … Dante Exum
and Alec Burks each scored 10 points.

Thunder: G Corey Brewer, who was questionable with a right knee sprain,
started. … Anthony scored his 1,700th playoff point. … Oklahoma City made its
first 17 free throws and didn’t miss one until the final minute.


Mitchell on why he was taken out of the game in the fourth quarter: ”I was
just limping, so the trainers saw me limpingimage and they thought I needed to come
out, but I was just being a baby Authentic
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 , so I’m good.”


George’s outburst is significant because in Oklahoma City’s five-game playoff
series with Houston last season, no Thunder player other than Westbrook scored
more than 20 points in a game. Westbrook averaged 37.4 points in the series, but
no other Thunder player averaged more than 11.6.


Game 2 will be Wednesday night in Oklahoma City.


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