The Houston Rockets will look to finish off the Utah Jazz as they host them at the Toyota Center for Game 5 of the Western Conference Semifinals. If that takes place and the Rockets advance to the Western Conference Finals, that will be the first time in Chris Paul’s career that will play in a Conference Finals.
Game 1 took place in Houston on April 29 as the Rockets handed the Jazz a 110-96 loss. During that game, James Harden scored forty-one points, pulled down eight rebounds, gave out seven assists, and committed one steal while Donovan Mitchell finished with twenty-one points, three rebounds, and five assists. Jae Crowder also had twenty-one points, along with five rebounds, one assist, and two steals.
The Houston Rockets hosted the Utah Jazz again for Game 2 on May 2 but this time, the Jazz snuck away with a 116 to 108 victory. Joe Ingles had twenty-seven points in that game, along with three rebounds and two assists while James Harden recorded thirty-two points, six rebounds, eleven assists, and two steals.
The series would shift over to Utah as the Jazz hosted the Rockets for Game 3 on May 4. The Houston Rockets, however, got revenge as they defeated the Utah Jazz with a 113 to 92 score. During that game, James Harden scored twenty-five points, pulled down four rebounds, gave out twelve assists, committed two steals and blocked one shot. Eric Gordon also had twenty-five points, along with two rebounds and one steal. Royce O’Neale had seventeen points, five rebounds, and one assist.
Game 4 would be held on May 6 at the Vivint Smart Home Arena as the Texas team defeated the Jazz, 100-87. Chris Paul finished that game with twenty-seven points, along with twelve rebounds, six assists, two steals, and one block while Donovan Mitchell recorded twenty-five points, nine rebounds, two assists, and four steals.
Tony Bradley (coach’s decision; 0.9 PPG, 1.2 RPG, 0.1 APG, 27.3 FG%, 0.0 3P%)
David Stockton (coach’s decision; 3.3 PPG, 0.0 RPG, 0.0 APG, 66.7 FG%, 66.7 3P%)
Ekpe Udoh (coach’s decision; 2.6 PPG, 2.4 RPG, 0.8 APG, 50.0 FG%, 0.0 3P%)
Ricky Rubio (hamstring; 13.1 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 5.3 APG, 41.8 FG%, 35.2 3P%)
Dante Exum (hamstring; 8.1 PPG, 1.9 RPG, 3.1 APG, 48.3 FG%, 27.8 3P%)
Thabo Sefolosha (knee; 8.2 PPG, 4.2 RPG, 0.9 APG, 49.2 FG%, 38.1 3P%)
Ryan Anderson (coach’s decision; 9.3 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 0.9 APG, 43.1 FG%, 38.6 3P%)
Tarik Black (coach’s decision; 3.5 PPG, 3.2 RPG, 0.3 APG, 59.1 FG%, 9.1 3P%)
Aaron Jackson (coach’s decision; 8.0 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 1.0 APG, 33.3 FG%, 25.0 3P%)
Joe Johnson (coach’s decision; 6.8 PPG, 3.1 RPG, 1.5 APG, 40.6 FG%, 27.6 3P%)
Zhou Qi (1.2 PPG, 1.2 RPG, 0.1 APG, 18.8 FG%, 10.5 3P%)
Chinanu Onuaku (4.0 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 1.0 APG, 40.0 FG%)
The Houston Rockets would somewhat have control in the first half as they shot forty-nine percent from the field, keeping the Utah Jazz at forty percent. Chris Paul, desperate for a Conference Finals appearance, would get hot for fifteen points while hitting three three-pointers in the second quarter. He also had two defensive rebounds and six assists while P.J. Tucker earned himself ten points on a perfect one-hundred percent shooting from the field. James Harden contributed with nine points which held a three-pointer late in the first period. 2016-2017 Sixth Man of the Year Eric Gordon played the most minutes off the bench but was kept to just a three-pointer, which he took in the second quarter.
On the other end of the court, both Joe Ingles and Rudy Gobert scored eight points but Ingles earned six of his points from beyond the arc. He also had three rebounds and three assists while Gobert had five rebounds and two blocks. Donovan Mitchell surprisingly had only two points but did manage to dish off six assists. Missouri-native Alec Burks played fourteen minutes off of the bench as he had twelve points but it was the Houston team who went into halftime with a 54 to 46 lead.
The Jazz would make sure to hold it close, though, as they shot fifty-six percent from the field, keeping the home team to forty-eight percent. Mitchell got extremely hot for twenty-two points while shooting sixty-seven percent from the field. He dropped two three-pointers in the third quarter while recording three rebounds and three assists. Royce O’Neale helped out with eleven points while Rudy Gobert had four rebounds and four points. Burks collected ten more points off of the bench but it wasn’t enough as Chris Paul responded hugely. Paul chalked up twenty-six more points, giving the Rockets a 112-102 victory, winning the series 4-1. Chris Paul finished the game with a playoff career-high forty-one points, along with seven rebounds, ten assists, and one steal. Donovan Mitchell settled for twenty-four points, four rebounds, nine assists, and one steal.