The Houston Rockets took care of business in Game Five, while in a crazy turn of events, the 3-1 curse continues for the Golden State Warriors as the Los Angeles Clippers steal a Warriors home game to make the series a thrilling 3-2.
Here are the highlights from a two-game playoff slate:
Utah Jazz (1-4) v Houston Rockets (4-1): 93 to 100
It is important to note that this game was not an offensive spectacle. That is probably why the Jazz were in it until the final moments.
With only a minute left, the Jazz were down by two. This game was down to the wire and then it wasn’t.
Ricky Rubio air-balls a wide open three and then the Jazz have two consecutive turnovers (one of which was a James Harden block on Rudy Gobert). The Rockets go to the line 6 times in the final minute and that’s all she wrote.
The thing that has let Utah down all season was very apparent tonight: they need more offence.
They are a defensive team, that much is clear when you see Houston only scoring 100 points. The weird defence behind James Harden to force him into the rightie-floater was some sort of genius (or insanity) and they have managed to stay in most of these games with defence alone.
But offence once again let them down. Donovan Mitchell had a terrible game with 4-22 and 12 points, Joe Ingles is still off form and Gobert was again a nonfactor offensively (except when he dunked on Harden). Royce O’Neale (8-13 with 18 points) and Ricky Rubio (7-15 with 17 points and 11 assists) were the only efficient producers on the night.
Turning to Houston, they do not look good. Despite a big game from Harden (26 points, 3 steals and 4 blocks), he missed his first 7 shots and Clint Capela dominated the paint (6-7 with 17 points and 10 rebounds) but that barely got Houston over the line. Houston did not look like the dominant team from Game 1 and 2.
They did have a block party with 12 blocks (4 from Harden and PJ Tucker) but seemed off offensively.
Luckily the get to rest until Golden State or maybe the Clippers advance. This should give Houston the time to find their shot and get ready for the next round.
Meanwhile, the Jazz will go home after a strong finish to the regular season and a matchup that just wasn’t meant for them. They will have to go back to the drawing board and try to get offence from somewhere in the offseason (Kevin Durant maybe?)
Los Angeles Clippers (2-3) v Golden State Warriors (3-2): 129 to 121
So it seems lighting can strike twice.
The Clippers have won another game against the Warriors on the road and this series is turning into something completely unexpected: a close series.
As is always the case with the Clippers, they win because of their bench and energy. Lou Williams was 12-19 shooting for 33 points to go along with 11 assists, Montrez Harrell was 11-14 with 24 points. Patrick Beverly had 17 points and 14 rebounds and Danilo Gallinari had 26 points. The Clippers were cooking and came out with the energy and ferocity that they showed throughout the regular season. They shot better, they rebounded better and demolished the Warriors in the paint. They also have a million highlights of Montrez dunking which is worth a watch!
The Warriors on the other hand just couldn’t get shots to fall in the second half. With 2:40 to play, the Clippers went on a 12-3 run. A flurry of missed three’s, offensive fouls and lack of stops kept the Warriors out of this game and closing the series.
Kevin Durant had a monster game with 45 points (14-26), Stephen Curry was 4-5 from three-point range with 24 points and Klay Thompson had 22 points, but these All-stars were not enough to win the game.
Watching this game it was clear: the Clippers just wanted it more.
These teams now head back to LA in a shock turn of events for Game 6.
Next Game @ Clippers: Saturday (27/4) at 12pm.