NBA

Ricky Rubio outplays Russell Westbrook with triple-double to give Utah Jazz series lead over Oklahoma City Thunder

Jay Asser 20:49 22/04/2018
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Ricky Rubio had a triple-double in Game 3.

Triple-doubles have become the norm for Russell Westbrook, but it was his counterpart who accomplished the feat to push his team to a 2-1 series lead in a pivotal Game 3.

Ricky Rubio had 26 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists to spur the Utah Jazz to a 115-102 win over Westbrook and the Oklahoma City Thunder on Saturday.

It was the first time a Jazz player had recorded a triple-double in the playoffs since the John Stockton back in 2001.

“Having my name next to his name is an honor,” Rubio said of Stockton. “I don’t know what else to say. It’s huge. Have huge respect for him, and playing here is great because I know how important a point guard he is for this franchise.”

Westbrook, meanwhile, was less than pleased that Rubio got the better of him and vowed to flip the script going forward.

“He made some shots,” Westbrook said. “Too comfortable. But I’m gonna shut that s*** off next game though. Guarantee that.”

It was already known, but Game 3 further cemented that the Thunder can’t lose the Westbrook-Rubio matchup if they want to advance.

While Rubio’s shooting has improved every game in the series – 5-of-18 to 6-of-16 to 9-of-18 – Westbrook’s has declined – 10-of-25 to 7-of-19 to 5-of-17.

A large portion of both players’ shots have come from the mid-range, with the area proving to be key as the Thunder have played off of Rubio, whereas the Rudy Gobert’s presence in the paint has encouraged Westbrook to pull up just before.

After going just 3-of-13 in the mid-range in the first two games, Rubio connected on all five of his shots from the area in Game 3.

Westbrook, on the other hand, was just 1-of-5 from mid-range on Saturday and is 8-of-25 overall in the series.

With neither point guard a major shooting threat, whoever can take advantage of open looks could decide the series.

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