Houston Rockets 100, Utah Jazz 93
The first round gentleman’s sweep is complete for the Houston Rockets and they got a chance to close the series out on their own home court last night. It was a close game from the opening tip as both teams tied at 20 points apiece in the first quarter. The Rockets lead in scoring the next three quarters but only by small margins, with the game having eight lead changes and being tied eight times.
Donovan Mitchell, who had put the Jazz on his back the entire series, struggled in Game 5, shooting 4-of-22 from the field and missing all nine of his three-point attempts as he finished with 12 points. Houston turned up the pressure on defense and Mitchell was certainly the biggest target of that as he also turned the ball over five times. Ricky Rubio had 17 points, and Royce O’Neal had 18, but Rody Gobert, Joe Ingles, and Derrick Favors, who all shined in last year’s playoff run, never seemed to get their footing in this series.
James Harden led the Rockets with 26 points and Clint Capela had one of his better performances with 16 points, 10 rebounds and three blocked shots. Chris Paul and Eric Gordon added 15 points apiece.
Los Angeles Clippers 129, Golden State Warriors 121
In position to close out their first-round series on their home court, it seemed everything was favoring the Golden State Warriors, aside from the talent disparity. The Clippers seemingly had the odds stacked against them, but that didn’t matter as they shocked the NBA world by extending their series to a sixth game back in Los Angeles.
The Clippers used big scoring runs in the second and third quarters and even stayed close in the first when Golden State put up 41 points that would normally have been the death blow to most teams. But the Clippers managed to score along with them and then took their turn to apply the pressure.
In a game where Kevin Durant scored 45 points, Stephen Curry had 24, and Klay Thompson added 22, it just wasn’t enough for the superstar-less Clippers.
To no surprise, it was Los Angeles’ super subs in Lou Williams and Montrezl Harrell who led them once again. Williams had 33 points and 10 assists, and Harrell finished with 24 points. But the key to the Clippers all season long has been balanced scoring. Danilo Gallinari had 26 points, Patrick Beverley had 17 and JaMychal Green added 15 for the Clippers.
Game 6 is Friday night at Staples Center at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN.