OKC Thunder – Utah Jazz Series: Battle of the backcourts

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - APRIL 15: Russell Westbrook
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - APRIL 15: Russell Westbrook /
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OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – APRIL 15: Ricky Rubio /

How to compare Ricky Rubio and Corey Brewer

These are two vastly different players. Corey Brewer thrives in chaotic moments; at his best when everyone it headed downcourt at a sprint. Ricky Rubio is trouble on the break or in half court sets, with a cool head that also happens to have eyes in the back of it.

Mitchell and Westbrook draw obvious comparisons, but these other two backcourt starters bring unique skill sets to their squads.

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A healthy Brewer was a welcome sight in the first game of the series. He only attempted three shots, but did nothing to hurt the team while inserting a few trademark hustle plays.

Rubio on the other hand attempted 18 shots in his first playoff appearance, only connecting on five. He did have seven boards, four assists, and most notably, four steals. This offensive assertiveness was a bit of a surprise, as he is known for flashy passing as opposed to shooting.

Who owns the backcourt advantage off the bench?

This is a tough question to answer with both squads receiving game one boosts from unexpected places. Alex Abrines for the OKC Thunder was one thing, but the Jazz’ Alec Burks was another.

Abrines’ as a potential X-Factor off the bench was suspect coming in. He had been too inconsistent to be trusted in the Playoffs right? As Thunderous Intentions has since covered, that was wrong.

The Spanish Sniper had three big buckets from deep, finishing with 11 points and a team-high plus-14 rating. Raymond Felton dutifully took care of the rock, but his impact was much lesser. Abrines has certainly earned some more minutes going forward.

For the Jazz, Dante Exum was very aggressive – to a fault in the first game. He had back-to-back turnovers that helped the Thunder establish a scoring cushion in the second half. Alec Burks was the intriguing figure in this one, scoring 10 points in just two minutes of action to end the game.