Oklahoma City • Paul George is not only one of the best small forwards in the league, the man called ‘PG-13’ has a reputation of coming up big in playoff situations. He said as much on Saturday, saying the Thunder had a new player, ‘Playoff P.’

However you want to refer to him, George dominated the Utah Jazz to the tune of 36 points on Sunday night as in what is expected to be the most competitive first-round series in the NBA playoffs, the Thunder threw the first punch — and it was a haymaker.

OKC battered the Jazz on both ends of the floor. They held, they grabbed, they pushed, they shoved. They turned a basketball game into a street fight. There were times Utah couldn’t find defensive stops, or rebound the basketball. There were more examples of the Jazz not being able to properly run their motion offense.

Add in a sellout crowd at Chesapeake Arena, one of the most raucous home-court advantages in the NBA, and it was no surprise that the Jazz looked rattled at times in a 116-108 loss in Game 1.

“I think we can be more physical,” Jazz center Rudy Gobert said. “We knew this was a very physical team, and we started to get physical and then we kind of just stopped throughout the game. If we play physical for 48 minutes, then we should be fine.”

Game 1 was a perfect storm of what could go wrong for the Jazz; Oklahoma City, which finished 23rd in the NBA in 3-point percentage, made 14-of-29 from the perimeter, including eight 3s from George. The Thunder are next to last in the NBA in free-throw percentage, but made 20 of 23 from the foul line on Sunday.

Add to that Utah, a team that relies heavily on its ability to make 3s, starting the game 4 of 14 from beyond the arc, plus OKC’s ability to force turnovers and convert them into points, and it’s not difficult to see how the game got away from the Jazz in the second half.

In a game where Utah led by as much as 16-4, the Jazz trailed by as many as 18 points in the second half. Only a barrage of points from Alec Burks in the final two minutes made the score respectable. The Jazz didn’t lead in the second half and by the middle of the fourth quarter, it was clear Utah wasn’t going to be able to pull a win out on Sunday night.

“We took the physicality to them first,” Thunder point guard Raymond Felton said. “Something we have been talking about the last few days before we played these guys is just being physical. We wanted to hit them first. Playoff basketball is a different kind of basketball. We were prepared for it.”

The Jazz weren’t despondent after the loss. Jazz rookie Donovan Mitchell was sensational in his playoff debut — he scored 27 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, becoming the first player since LeBron James in 2006 to score at least 25 points and grab at least 10 rebounds in his first career postseason game. He left the game in the fourth quarter with an injured toe, but he said he’s good to go for Game 2 on Wednesday night.

And in scoring 16 of the first 20 points, Utah looked crisp early. Its defense was unyielding, and the Jazz were successful in funneling OKC shooters into the paint, where Gobert was waiting.

But, the Jazz simply weren’t ready for George, who was the best player on the floor. He shot 13 of 20 from the field and grabbed seven rebounds. With every 3-pointer, he turned and barked to the crowd, yelling at the Jazz bench that they couldn’t guard him.

And on Sunday night, he was correct.

“When you see those type of shots go in, it’s like the rim is wide open,” Mitchell said. “I think it’s a matter of continuing to play defense and not letting it affect you. So, we just kept sticking with it, and hopefully he doesn’t go 8-of-11 for the rest of the series.”

Even with the Thunder raining in shots, Utah gave itself a chance for most of the game. But whenever the Jazz got close, Oklahoma City made the plays needed to create distance.

On Wednesday night, the Jazz will try to close that distance.