Rockets, Warriors advance to Western Conference finals

James Harden Donovan Mitchell

A 19-28 record isn't a good look for any team, but for the Jazz, this seemed to just be a sign of the times. The numbers back that up, with the Rockets winning more games (65), having a better point differential (8.5), and having a higher offensive efficiency rating (115.5) than any Golden State opponent from 2015-2018.

"I think Coach did a great job though of just giving him a little bit here and there and tonight really just letting him go", Kevin Durant said.

"No disrespect, but we were just focused on us during the season and how we can get better every day", Durant said. He went to go get it. "So you know, I try not to look at those games but we kind of know, they know what we do and they know what we do".

This is the first time since 2014 - a span of 15 series - where Golden State will have to play Game 1 on the road.

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"The performance that Chris put out there - if he didn't make it out this time, something's wrong", coach Mike D'Antoni said.

Paul had been in the conference semifinals four other times before finally getting over the hump this season. Paul said, via ESPN. "It's not about the points or anything like that". The next round could be the most challenging matchup for the Rockets since they will be facing the reigning National Basketball Association champions, Golden State Warriors.

The Jazz's star rookie Donovan Mitchell, with 24 points for the game, sparked a 21-6 third quarter run against the Rockets. The team didn't provide an update on his condition after the game, but he was wearing a walking boot on his left foot.

"The whole world's been waiting for this matchup", Hall of Famer Shaquille O'Neal said in his role as an analyst Tuesday night on TNT. However, beating the Warriors or Rockets in a seven-game series would likely take his best performance yet, along with his supporting cast playing to the best of their abilities. In a blink of an eye, the Warriors ballooned the lead to 24 behind Stephen Curry's incredible three-point shooting [VIDEO].

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On a night Harden was under the weather and struggling to score, finishing with 18 points on 7-of-22 shooting, the value of Paul was on full display. The crowd began chanting "CP3" repeatedly as Paul dribbled down the court on the next possession.

Ingles' fellow Boomer Dante Exum missed the match due a hamstring injury suffered in Utah's game-four loss.

True to form, the Warriors finished the game - and the series - with a third-quarter run.

Disappointingly for the Jazz, Mitchell's night was cut short thanks to a left knee injury. He led the way with 20 fourth-quarter points. But Utah played team ball, and Mitchell is an all-out baller. Curry played the entire fourth quarter after logging more conservative workloads in Game 2 (27 minutes off the bench), Game 3 (29 minutes) and Game 4 (32 minutes). O'Neale had 17 points.

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The Pelicans - once confident they could stick with the Warriors after an impressive Game 3 win - didn't know what hit them.

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