Friday, 20 July, 2018

Rockets vs. Jazz: Houston aims to close out Utah in Game 5

Dante Exum Dante Exum
Faye Gross | 15 May, 2018, 15:31

In Game 4, Capela recorded 12 points, 15 boards, and six blocks. Despite the loss, rookie Donovan Mitchell rebounded from a terrible Game 3 performance to score 25 points and grab nine rebounds. And so, he doesn't get a lot of credit for it. He was forced out and coach Quin Snyder had to substitute Dante Exum into his rotation earlier than he'd planned.

So much of what the Houston Rockets have become under coach Mike D'Antoni focuses on the volume of 3-pointers taken and the influence their perimeter proficiency has offensively.

There was a reason why the Houston Rockets made a decision to trade for point guard Chris Paul this past offseason.

Clint Capela has averaged 17.6 points, 12.6 rebounds and 2.4 blocks over the last five games for Houston.

"I've been here before, 3-1", Paul said on TNT immediately following the win. O'Neale had returned from the locker room, and had a couple big plays in transition, including a big dunk that kicked up the energy level on the court.

Rockets forward P.J. Tucker was hit with a flagrant foul type 1 for smacking Joe Ingles across the face as he prepared for a 3-point shot attempt at 2:20 in the third. The Utah Jazz are shooting 35.9 percent from beyond the arc and 68.1 percent from the free throw line.

While the Jazz didn't pull off the win, the loss didn't diminish this once-in-a-lifetime experience. "We're a very hungry and desperate team now". There's a reason Houston is the number one seed in the West and they proved it thoroughly in Games 3 and 4 in which the Jazz were handily defeated in both bouts on their home floor.

In the 2015 playoffs, the Clippers held a 3-1 lead over the Rockets and looked set to meet the Golden State Warriors in the WCF.

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After being demolished in Game 3, Utah altered its starting lineup, inserting swingman Jae Crowder for big man Derek Favors in an attempt to try to better match up with Houston's shooting and athleticism rather than have the size advantage in the Favors-Rudy Gobert pairing.

The chippiness of the game increased (somehow) in the fourth quarter, with both teams being physical with each other. The Jazz had, when healthy, the best defense in the league. Capela saved the Rockets from losing this game on defense because he contested many shots.

Utah has lived and died by the 3-point line.

James Harden and Chris Paul continued to dominate the Jazz in Game 4.

Utah's backs are against the wall entering Game 5, down 3-1, but the team will continue to fight.

Utah could get a boost in Game 6 with the return of Ricky Rubio.

The ability to defend and eliminate offensive possessions is one of the underrated talents of this Rockets team. Maxwell played with the Rockets during the 1994 and 1995 championship wins. Paul, who left L.A. for Houston last summer, hasn't forgotten that fact now that he once again finds himself one win away from his first trip to the conference finals.

Rubio hasn't played yet in the Rockets series, nursing a left hamstring strain that actually might have healed enough for Game 5.

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