Chris Paul is advancing beyond the second round for the first time in his NBA career, and he did so by putting the Rockets on his back for their 112-102 Game 5 win against the Jazz. Paul got a new playoff high of 41 points, with 10 assists, seven boards, and no turnovers. And after Jazz rookie Donovan Mitchell, who scored an astonishing 22 points in the third quarter, had to leave with an injury in the middle of the fourth, Paul turned the game into a one-man show.
With 5:48 to go in the final quarter, Paul drained a three (one of eight he made in 10 attempts on the night) to put the Rockets up 97-89. Starting from there, he scored 13 points for the Rockets in a row, matching everything Utah did to try and dent the Houston lead and emerging with his team still up nine with under two minutes remaining. Of all his plays, this absurd bank shot at the end of the shot clock is what seemed to officially punch the Rockets’ ticket to the Western Conference Finals.
The Rockets get the Warriors now, barring some crazy series upset from the Pelicans. That’s going to be fun.