The Rockets got here up with a number of enormous stops down the stretch to carry off the Jazz in Sport 5 and shut out their first-round collection.
Houston’s offense has been uncharacteristically common over the previous three video games however, because of their protection and a few clutch play from the supporting solid, they have been in a position to win two of three and ship the Jazz packing. The ultimate couple of minutes of Sport 5 have been an ideal encapsulation of Houston’s skill to win ugly.
With 1:32 remaining on the clock, Ricky Rubio hit a 17-foot jumper to convey the Jazz inside one, 94-93. These have been the final factors Utah would rating — they got here up empty on their subsequent 5 possessions, with Donovan Mitchell lacking a 3 and committing a turnover, and Rubio lacking a pair of 3s. 4 of these 5 possessions have been adopted by determined fouls sending Houston to the road to construct on their lead.
It was an unsightly finish to the Jazz’s season and an encouraging signal for Rockets followers that they don’t need to win each recreation by racing their opponents to 120 factors.
What a catastrophe for Donovan Mitchell. Together with his group’s again to the wall, he shot 4-of-22 from the sphere, 0-of-9 on 3-pointers and turned the ball over 5 occasions. For the collection, he took practically twice as many pictures as anybody else on the Jazz and shot 32.1 % from the sphere, 25.6 % on 3s and completed with extra turnovers (21) than assists (16). His playoff run final season was a powerful piece of proof for the case that he may very well be the first offensive creator for an elite group. Issues may need been totally different if his teammates had been hitting open pictures on this collection, however Mitchell regarded woefully ill-equipped to deal with the load of major initiator and scoring menace and the Jazz could have loads of inquiries to reply this offseason.
The Rockets protection confirmed up on this collection. Their total scores look higher than actuality as a result of the Jazz missed so many open pictures, however Houston’s defenders completely contributed to Mitchell’s horrific collection they usually have been constantly in a position to generate affect performs. They completed Sport 5 with 12 steals and 12 blocks (together with Three steals and Four blocks from Harden) and are enjoying in addition to may very well be anticipated at that finish of the ground, particularly with Clint Capela nonetheless unwell. A matchup with the Warriors looms and protection goes to be enormous for Houston. Stopping Golden State is an unattainable problem however they appear able to no less than sluggish them down.
Did the Jazz reveal a recreation plan for stopping Harden? It’s exhausting to think about every other group (significantly the Warriors or whoever comes out of the East) committing as wholeheartedly to the Jazz’s scheme of enjoying behind Harden and forcing him proper. Nonetheless, Harden was nowhere close to his peak on this collection, capturing beneath 40 % from the sphere and averaging practically six turnovers per recreation. If nothing else, the intense technique appeared to place him off stability at occasions and may very well be a change-of-pace for opponents to throw at him on an important possession.