Jingle Jangle Jazz Jump To A 3-1 Lead

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Is there a more fun team to hate than the Oklahoma City Thunder? Okay, maybe that’s a little rough and I’ll admit I’m biased because I lived in Seattle and saw what the franchise move did to Sonics’ fans.

But today’s Game Four, which featured any number of duels and mini wrestling matches played out beautifully for any Aussie who doesn’t support the Thunder.

In front of another manic Utah crowd – that included onetime Presidential candidate Mitt Romney wearing a Rodney Hood jersey over a dress shirt – the Jazz pumped the Thunder 113-96 to take a 3-1 lead in the series.

And while it’s unfair to paint this as Good Guys v Bad Guys, it’s got to be hard for any neutrals to barrack for OKC against this young, fun-to-watch Utah team.

Let’s be honest, Russell Westbrook is a polarising character at the best of times. No one doubts his talent, but the perception that he’s a selfish stat-padder who’s difficult to play with is never far from many people’s minds. He scored 23 today but had 5 fouls and 5 turnovers.

Then you’ve got Paul George, a wonderful player and a great scorer, but can you ever fully trust a guy who gives himself a nickname?

‘Playoff P’ he called himself before the series and while he’s definitely put up some big numbers (he led OKC with 32 today), he was also involved in a mano-e-mano battle with Joe Ingles.

The Aussie – who loves a subtle niggle now and then – is probably Public Enemy Number One in the Oklahoma cowtown right now, and his matchup with George could be one to keep an eye on in two days’ time.

Then you have Melo. Poor Melo, one of the greatest International players the US has ever produced – witness his three Olympic gold medals – but a guy who just can’t seem to put it all together on a good NBA team.

He was 5 of 18 today (0 for 6 from 3-pt range) for just 11 points.

Thunder head coach Billy Donovan is starting to look like his predecessor Scott Brooks, sitting blank-faced on the bench wondering what’s happening as his team seems on the verge of imploding.

Game Five in Oklahoma City will be an entirely different proposition, but for most Aussie fans, today was a joy to watch. And it was summed up beautifully in a cheeky Ingles chat with Shaquille O’Neal after the game.

What do you think?