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"Playoff P" Paul George scores 36, leads Thunder past Jazz

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) On Saturday, 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, but that's the level I'm going to bring every night.''

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,'' 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,'' 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, 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 lead.

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.

TIP-INS

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.

QUOTABLE

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

STAT LINES

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.

UP NEXT

Game 2 will be Wednesday night in Oklahoma City.

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1st Quarter

Time Team Play Score
12:00   Jumpball  
11:42   Bad pass turnover on Ricky Rubio, stolen by Paul George  
11:37 +2 Russell Westbrook made dunk, assist by Corey Brewer 0-2
11:15   Ricky Rubio missed jump shot  
11:13   Defensive rebound by Carmelo Anthony  
11:04   Steven Adams missed driving layup, blocked by Derrick Favors  
11:01   Defensive rebound by Derrick Favors  
10:57 +3 Joe Ingles made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Donovan Mitchell 3-2
10:37   Lost ball turnover on Paul George, stolen by Ricky Rubio  
10:33 +2 Donovan Mitchell made dunk, assist by Ricky Rubio 5-2
10:20   Paul George missed 3-pt. jump shot  
10:18   Defensive rebound by Donovan Mitchell  
10:03 +2 Rudy Gobert made dunk, assist by Derrick Favors 7-2
9:43   Carmelo Anthony missed jump shot  
9:39   Defensive rebound by Ricky Rubio  
9:35   Ricky Rubio missed layup, blocked by Corey Brewer  
9:33   Defensive rebound by Steven Adams  
9:28   Russell Westbrook missed 3-pt. jump shot  
9:23   Defensive rebound by Ricky Rubio  
9:18 +2 Donovan Mitchell made floating jump shot 9-2
9:00   Paul George missed fade-away jump shot  
8:59   Defensive rebound by Donovan Mitchell  
8:55 +2 Donovan Mitchell made floating jump shot 11-2
8:33   Russell Westbrook missed driving layup  
8:31   Defensive rebound by Donovan Mitchell  
8:27   Derrick Favors missed alley-oop shot  
8:26   Defensive rebound by Carmelo Anthony  
8:21   Shooting foul on Ricky Rubio  
8:21 +1 Russell Westbrook made 1st of 2 free throws 11-3
8:21 +1 Russell Westbrook made 2nd of 2 free throws 11-4
8:04   Derrick Favors missed layup, blocked by Carmelo Anthony  
8:00   Offensive rebound by Derrick Favors  
7:57   Lost ball turnover on Joe Ingles, stolen by Corey Brewer  
7:54   Bad pass turnover on Russell Westbrook, stolen by Donovan Mitchell  
7:46 +3 Donovan Mitchell made 3-pt. jump shot 14-4
7:34   Offensive foul on Paul George  
7:34   Offensive foul on Paul George  
7:16   Derrick Favors missed jump shot  
7:14   Defensive rebound by Russell Westbrook  
7:09   Carmelo Anthony missed 3-pt. jump shot  
7:05   Defensive rebound by Donovan Mitchell  
6:48 +2 Rudy Gobert made dunk, assist by Derrick Favors 16-4
6:34   Russell Westbrook missed jump shot  
6:32   Defensive rebound by Rudy Gobert  
6:11   Ricky Rubio missed jump shot  
6:10   Defensive rebound by Russell Westbrook  
6:00 +3 Paul George made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Carmelo Anthony 16-7
5:33   Donovan Mitchell missed jump shot  
5:32   Defensive rebound by Russell Westbrook  
5:17 +2 Carmelo Anthony made jump shot 16-9
4:56   Ricky Rubio missed jump shot  
4:53   Defensive rebound by Paul George  
4:42   Russell Westbrook missed jump shot  
4:40   Offensive rebound by Steven Adams  
4:37 +3 Paul George made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Russell Westbrook 16-12
4:15   Donovan Mitchell missed 3-pt. jump shot  
4:10   Defensive rebound by Steven Adams  
3:57   Carmelo Anthony missed jump shot  
3:53   Offensive rebound by Corey Brewer  
3:51   Corey Brewer missed jump shot, blocked by Donovan Mitchell  
3:49   Defensive rebound by Rudy Gobert  
3:48   Lost ball turnover on Rudy Gobert, stolen by Carmelo Anthony  
3:43 +2 Carmelo Anthony made jump shot 16-14
3:27   Jae Crowder missed 3-pt. jump shot  
3:27   Defensive rebound by Russell Westbrook  
3:18   Carmelo Anthony missed 3-pt. jump shot  
3:16   Offensive rebound by Steven Adams  
3:02 +2 Russell Westbrook made jump shot 16-16
2:47 +2 Ricky Rubio made fade-away jump shot 18-16
2:47   Shooting foul on Carmelo Anthony  
2:47 +1 Ricky Rubio made free throw 19-16
2:28   Bad pass turnover on Carmelo Anthony, stolen by Royce O'Neale  
2:25   Shooting foul on Terrance Ferguson  
2:25   Royce O'Neale missed 1st of 2 free throws  
2:25   Team rebound  
2:25 +1 Royce O'Neale made 2nd of 2 free throws 20-16
2:12 +2 Alex Abrines made driving layup 20-18
1:52 +2 Dante Exum made floating jump shot, assist by Donovan Mitchell 22-18
1:33 +2 Carmelo Anthony made driving dunk 22-20
1:09   Dante Exum missed driving layup  
1:08   Defensive rebound by Carmelo Anthony  
1:05 +2 Raymond Felton made layup 22-22
0:43   Jonas Jerebko missed 3-pt. jump shot  
0:41   Defensive rebound by Alex Abrines  
0:35 +3 Carmelo Anthony made 3-pt. jump shot 22-25
0:18 +2 Derrick Favors made layup, assist by Dante Exum 24-25
0:18   Shooting foul on Terrance Ferguson  
0:18 +1 Derrick Favors made free throw 25-25
0:01   Raymond Felton missed jump shot  
0:01   Defensive rebound by Royce O'Neale  
0:00   End of period  

2nd Quarter

Time Team Play Score
11:43   Paul George missed driving layup, blocked by Derrick Favors  
11:41   Offensive rebound by Paul George  
11:40 +2 Paul George made dunk 25-27
11:17   Jonas Jerebko missed layup, blocked by Jerami Grant  
11:16   Defensive rebound by Patrick Patterson  
11:06   Paul George missed 3-pt. jump shot  
11:02   Defensive rebound by Dante Exum  
10:53 +3 Jae Crowder made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Jonas Jerebko 28-27
10:36   Raymond Felton missed jump shot  
10:34   Defensive rebound by Derrick Favors  
10:17   Jae Crowder missed 3-pt. jump shot  
10:13   Defensive rebound by Jerami Grant  
10:06 +2 Paul George made fade-away jump shot 28-29
9:39   Jae Crowder missed driving layup, blocked by Raymond Felton  
9:37   Defensive rebound by Patrick Patterson  
9:33   Shooting foul on Derrick Favors  
9:33 +1 Paul George made 1st of 2 free throws 28-30
9:33 +1 Paul George made 2nd of 2 free throws 28-31
9:11   Ricky Rubio missed 3-pt. jump shot  
9:07   Offensive rebound by Ricky Rubio  
9:02   Joe Ingles missed jump shot  
9:00   Defensive rebound by Jerami Grant  
8:47   Lost ball turnover on Jerami Grant, stolen by Royce O'Neale  
8:39   Ricky Rubio missed 3-pt. jump shot  
8:36   Defensive rebound by Jerami Grant  
8:34   Personal foul on Joe Ingles  
8:28   Paul George missed driving layup  
8:25   Defensive rebound by Ricky Rubio  
8:20   Shooting foul on Patrick Patterson  
8:20   Team rebound  
8:20   Rudy Gobert missed 1st of 2 free throws  
8:20   Rudy Gobert missed 2nd of 2 free throws  
8:18   Defensive rebound by Russell Westbrook  
8:12   Russell Westbrook missed 3-pt. jump shot  
8:12   Personal foul on Royce O'Neale  
8:12   Team rebound  
8:01 +2 Russell Westbrook made jump shot 28-33
7:57   Personal foul on Russell Westbrook  
7:51   Shooting foul on Alex Abrines  
7:51 +1 Ricky Rubio made 1st of 2 free throws 29-33
7:51 +1 Ricky Rubio made 2nd of 2 free throws 30-33
7:40   Alex Abrines missed jump shot, blocked by Rudy Gobert  
7:37   Defensive rebound by Royce O'Neale  
7:36   Offensive foul on Rudy Gobert  
7:36   Offensive foul on Rudy Gobert  
7:25 +3 Alex Abrines made 3-pt. jump shot 30-36
7:05 +2 Ricky Rubio made fade-away jump shot 32-36
6:56 +2 Russell Westbrook made turnaround jump shot 32-38
6:39   Ricky Rubio missed fade-away jump shot  
6:38   Defensive rebound by Russell Westbrook  
6:33   Steven Adams missed layup, blocked by Royce O'Neale  
6:31   Defensive rebound by Donovan Mitchell  
6:26   Royce O'Neale missed 3-pt. jump shot  
6:23   Offensive rebound by Rudy Gobert  
6:23 +2 Rudy Gobert made dunk 34-38
6:12   Alex Abrines missed 3-pt. jump shot  
6:09   Defensive rebound by Donovan Mitchell  
6:02   Donovan Mitchell missed driving layup  
6:01   Defensive rebound by Alex Abrines  
5:58   Out of bounds turnover on Russell Westbrook  
5:37   Bad pass turnover on Ricky Rubio, stolen by Carmelo Anthony  
5:35 +2 Russell Westbrook made dunk, assist by Carmelo Anthony 34-40
5:20   Shooting foul on Steven Adams  
5:20 +1 Rudy Gobert made 1st of 2 free throws 35-40
5:20   Rudy Gobert missed 2nd of 2 free throws  
5:19   Defensive rebound by Russell Westbrook  
5:08   Russell Westbrook missed jump shot  
5:04   Defensive rebound by Jae Crowder  
4:57 +2 Donovan Mitchell made driving layup, assist by Jae Crowder 37-40
4:44 +3 Paul George made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Russell Westbrook 37-43
4:28   Personal foul on Corey Brewer  
4:28 +1 Donovan Mitchell made 1st of 2 free throws 38-43
4:28 +1 Donovan Mitchell made 2nd of 2 free throws 39-43
4:17   Bad pass turnover on Russell Westbrook, stolen by Ricky Rubio  
4:11 +2 Rudy Gobert made dunk, assist by Ricky Rubio 41-43
4:08   Delay of game violation  
3:48 +2 Paul George made floating jump shot 41-45
3:33   Donovan Mitchell missed 3-pt. jump shot  
3:31   Defensive rebound by Carmelo Anthony  
3:23 +2 Russell Westbrook made turnaround jump shot 41-47
3:07   Donovan Mitchell missed 3-pt. jump shot  
3:05   Defensive rebound by Russell Westbrook  
2:50   Lost ball turnover on Russell Westbrook, stolen by Jae Crowder  
2:48   Bad pass turnover on Jae Crowder, stolen by Corey Brewer  
2:47   Out of bounds turnover on Corey Brewer  
2:31 +2 Ricky Rubio made driving layup 43-47
2:08 +3 Paul George made 3-pt. jump shot 43-50
1:54 +2 Ricky Rubio made driving layup 45-50
1:42   Carmelo Anthony missed 3-pt. jump shot  
1:42   Offensive rebound by Corey Brewer  
1:39   Shooting foul on Ricky Rubio  
1:39 +1 Corey Brewer made 1st of 2 free throws 45-51
1:39 +1 Corey Brewer made 2nd of 2 free throws 45-52
1:26   Ricky Rubio missed jump shot  
1:24   Defensive rebound by Paul George  
1:09   Shooting foul on Rudy Gobert  
1:09 +1 Steven Adams made 1st of 2 free throws 45-53
1:09 +1 Steven Adams made 2nd of 2 free throws 45-54
0:49 +3 Jae Crowder made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Rudy Gobert 48-54
0:32   Bad pass turnover on Carmelo Anthony, stolen by Donovan Mitchell  
0:27   Joe Ingles missed jump shot  
0:24   Defensive rebound by Carmelo Anthony  
0:04   Russell Westbrook missed 3-pt. jump shot  
0:01   Defensive rebound by Jae Crowder  
0:00   Jae Crowder missed 3-pt. jump shot  
0:00   Team rebound  

3rd Quarter

Time Team Play Score
11:45 +2 Corey Brewer made finger-roll layup 48-56
11:23   Out of bounds turnover on Derrick Favors  
11:04   Steven Adams missed layup, blocked by Rudy Gobert  
11:01   Defensive rebound by Donovan Mitchell  
10:42 +3 Donovan Mitchell made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Ricky Rubio 51-56
10:25   Russell Westbrook missed jump shot  
10:23   Defensive rebound by Ricky Rubio  
10:14   Joe Ingles missed 3-pt. jump shot  
10:11   Defensive rebound by Carmelo Anthony  
10:05   Carmelo Anthony missed 3-pt. jump shot  
10:02   Defensive rebound by Joe Ingles  
9:54 +2 Joe Ingles made driving layup 53-56
9:39 +3 Paul George made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Steven Adams 53-59
9:18   Ricky Rubio missed turnaround jump shot  
9:16   Defensive rebound by Carmelo Anthony  
9:01   Steven Adams missed jump shot  
8:59   Defensive rebound by Derrick Favors  
8:56   Out of bounds turnover on Donovan Mitchell  
8:53 +3 Paul George made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Russell Westbrook 53-62
8:33 +2 Joe Ingles made floating jump shot, assist by Derrick Favors 55-62
8:09   Lost ball turnover on Paul George, stolen by Ricky Rubio  
7:47   Donovan Mitchell missed driving layup  
7:45   Defensive rebound by Russell Westbrook  
7:30   Shooting foul on Joe Ingles  
7:30 +1 Russell Westbrook made 1st of 2 free throws 55-63
7:30 +1 Russell Westbrook made 2nd of 2 free throws 55-64
7:15   Offensive foul on Rudy Gobert  
7:15   Offensive foul on Rudy Gobert  
6:57   Out of bounds turnover on Carmelo Anthony  
6:46   Personal foul on Paul George  
6:43   Kicked ball violation  
6:38 +3 Joe Ingles made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Ricky Rubio 58-64
6:24 +3 Corey Brewer made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Russell Westbrook 58-67
6:05   Ricky Rubio missed 3-pt. jump shot  
6:01   Offensive rebound by Ricky Rubio  
5:58 +2 Ricky Rubio made jump shot 60-67
5:49   Offensive foul on Russell Westbrook  
5:49   Offensive foul on Russell Westbrook  
5:36   Shooting foul on Corey Brewer  
5:36   Rudy Gobert missed 1st of 2 free throws  
5:36   Team rebound  
5:36 +1 Rudy Gobert made 2nd of 2 free throws 61-67
5:35   Personal foul on Jae Crowder  
5:35 +1 Russell Westbrook made free throw 61-68
5:20   Carmelo Anthony missed jump shot  
5:19   Team rebound  
5:19   Personal foul on Rudy Gobert  
5:02   Shooting foul on Joe Ingles  
5:02 +1 Carmelo Anthony made 1st of 2 free throws 61-69
5:02 +1 Carmelo Anthony made 2nd of 2 free throws 61-70
4:51   Bad pass turnover on Ricky Rubio, stolen by Russell Westbrook  
4:46   Full timeout called  
4:38   Bad pass turnover on Alex Abrines, stolen by Ricky Rubio  
4:38   Personal foul on Corey Brewer  
4:28   Donovan Mitchell missed jump shot  
4:25   Defensive rebound by Steven Adams  
4:18   Russell Westbrook missed jump shot  
4:17   Offensive rebound by Steven Adams  
4:17 +2 Steven Adams made dunk 61-72
4:06   Personal foul on Russell Westbrook