The Timberwolves play the Rockets and Utah faces Oklahoma City in today’s NBA Playoff action.
FROM Average Joe to King Joe in the space of two hours — the Joe Ingles story.
The Australian shooter was everywhere in the Utah Jazz’s heated game four win over Oklahoma City Thunder.
Much more than his 20-points, the swingman contributed his trademark Aussie fighting spirit and got up in the faces of Thunder stars Paul George and Russell Westbrook.
Their series of heated confrontations led to the unheralded Aussie becoming the No. 1 trending term on Twitter in the United States.
Meanwhile, Minnesota clawed its way back into its playoff series against Houston on the weekend but was unable to maintain the rage today. The Rockets lead 3-1 after James Harden inspired the Rockets to victory with a stunning third quarter rampage.
Joe Ingles was picked to do the post-game interview with American broadcaster TNT — and it was every bit as enthralling as his mighty performance on the floor.
In a five minute chat to NBA legends Shaquille O’Neal and Charles Barkley, Ingles had to endure an awful attempt at an Aussie accent by Shaq and questions about Sir Charles’ infamous battle with Aussie legend Shane Heal.
Ingles light-heartedly joked Barkley was “lucky he walked the other way” after Heal dropped a three-point bomb and then charged up to the NBA superstar during a game between the Boomers and the Dream Team.
He also declared he won’t be backing down from his running battle with Paul George.
“He’s a really good player and I’ve got my work cut out for me each night defending him,” Ingles said.
“I’m not going to back down. I’m going to compete and from 1-15 we’re going to have a crack.”
Ingles trends No. 1 in USA as NBA playoffs explode
Joe Ingles was trending No. 1 on Twitter in the United States as he delivered a deliciously cheeky, blockbuster performance as the Jazz blasted Oklahoma City to take a 3-1 series lead in their NBA playoffs series.
Ingles was the star of the show after getting under the skin of Thunder stars Russell Westbrook and Paul George.
The Aussie shooter dropped five three-pointers and finished with 20 points and four rebounds.
More than that, he brought the fight to the Thunder and had his opposition completely rattled.
Rookie sensation Donovan Mitchell finished with 33 points.
Ingles was picked to do the post-match interview with the TNT commentary team after the game and enjoyed some time in the sptlight with Shaquille O’Neal.
Mitchell’s haul led the Utah Jazz to a 113-96 win.
Game 5 is on Wednesday night. Paul George scored 32 points and Russell Westbrook added 23 points and 14 rebounds to lead the Thunder. Oklahoma City lost its third straight in the series after shooting just 39 percent from the field.
The Thunder opened up a 26-19 lead late in the first quarter when Carmelo Anthony capped a string of three straight Oklahoma City baskets with an alley- oop layup. They held onto the lead for much of the second quarter until Utah finally woke up on offense.
Starting with Rudy Gobert cutting to the rim for a dunk with 3:45 left in the second quarter, the Jazz scored on 11 straight offensive possessions to blow the game wide open. Ingles fueled the surge by hitting three straight 3-pointers to put Utah in front 58-52 before halftime.
It finally culminated in another Gobert dunk that punctuated a 20-3 run extending over the second and third quarters that gave Utah a 67-52 lead. The Jazz led by as many as 21 points in the third quarter. Utah went up 87-68 when Mitchell drained a jumper and then fed Ingles for a 3-pointer on the ensuing possession.
Physical play and heated emotions characterized the game. Both teams picked up two technical fouls before halftime. Then Jae Crowder was ejected with a technical foul with 5:30 remaining in the fourth quarter.
— with AP
Ingles sets tempo as teammate gets ejected
Joe Ingles’ running needling of Oklahoma stars Russell Westbrook and Paul George became the biggest talking point of the heated Game four battle between the Utah Jazz and the Thunder.
Ingles’ ability to get under the skin of OKC’s superstars brought the crowd to life — and then brought his teammates up to his level of feistiness.
It peaked in the fourth quarter when Jazz star Jae Crowder was ejected from the game for returning fire at Westbrook.
The Thunder reigning MVP deliberately fouled Crowder during a fast break, leading to a scrum as players ran in from all angles.
When the dust settled, Crowder was ejected for appearing to strike out at Westbrook.