May 9, 2018, 1:01 am
Hello Hoop-Ballers! Tuesday was fun, wasn’t it? The Rockets and Warriors shocked the world to make it to the Western Conference Finals. Not.
Yes, it is all going exactly as everyone expected so far. If you lived in a cave since the start of the 2017-18 season, you haven’t missed much. But you’ve also missed everything. The Warriors and Rockets will play in the Western Conference Finals (the real NBA Finals) over the next two weeks for the chance to hand LeBron’s Cavs another Finals loss (I know, the truth hurts).
Let’s take a peak at how both teams got there on Tuesday night.
CP3 GOES BONKERS FOR 41 POINTS TO SEND JAZZ HOME
With the Rockets heading home nurturing a 3-1 series lead, Tuesday night was a no-brainer in the gambling department. What you might not have guessed, however, is that the Rockets would survive a poor James Harden game.
That’s right, Chris Paul shouldered the load in a huge way, shooting 13-for-22 from the field and 10-for-12 from the line for 41 points with seven boards, 10 assists, one steal and eight 3-pointers in 38 minutes. CP3 was unstoppable and feeling it throughout the game, making big shot after big shot. The 41 points and eight threes were both career playoff highs. CP3 has made the Western Conference Finals for the first time in his career.
As mentioned above, Harden struggled all night. He shot an empty 7-for-22 from the field for 18 points, four rebounds, four assists, two steals and one 3-pointer in 35 minutes. The regular season MVP will have a lot to prove against the Warriors in the Western Conference Finals.
The Jazz ended their season on a sour note, as Donovan Mitchell (leg) was carried off to the locker room with just over seven minutes left in the game. He did not return. Mitchell shot 9-for-17 from the field for 24 points with four boards, nine assists, one steal and two 3-pointers in 34 minutes. Mitchell left the game when the Jazz were down 92-87 with seven minutes left in the fourth quarter. He buckled knees and had to get assisted to the locker room, where he attempted to walk it off but couldn’t shake it off in time to save the Jazz. He finishes the season as a rookie phenom who looks poised to have an all-star career, and maybe then some. Mitchell will be drafted in the top-35 picks among fantasy leagues next season.
The Rockets will try to take down the defending champion Warriors this weekend in a battle of NBA heavyweights.
WARRIORS TAKE DOWN PELS, AD IN FIVE GAMES
We all knew it was coming, it just was a matter of how soon. Three hours after the Rockets punched their ticket to the Western Conference Finals, the Warriors did so as well in a 113-104 win over Anthony Davis and the Pelicans in Game 5 on Tuesday night.
Steph Curry came back in this series earlier than expected, and he made a heck of a difference. Curry led the Warriors in scoring on Tuesday, shooting 10-for-16 from the field for 28 points, seven boards, eight assists, one steal and three 3-pointers in 37 minutes. He has found his groove and looks poised and ready for a date with the Rockets.
The big four were all terrific. Kevin Durant posted a 24-6-7-2 line with one 3-pointer in 37 minutes. Meanwhile, Klay Thompson poured in 23 points of his own, adding six boards, three assists, one steal and two 3-pointers in 37 minutes.
Draymond Green left his mark on the series as well, flexing his DFS muscles on Tuesday. Dray shot 9-for-18 for 19 points, 14 boards, nine assists, three steals, two blocks and one 3-pointer in 40 minutes. It truly took a team effort from the Warriors studs to close out the Pelicans.
Anthony Davis made his presence known in the NBA playoffs, even though he fell short of reaching the conference finals. AD went out loud and proud with 34 points, 19 boards, one assist, one steal, four blocks and one 3-pointer in 45 minutes. He should flirt with the No. 1 consensus pick in fantasy redraft leagues next season.
Jrue Holiday continued his playoff tear with a triple-double, despite a losing effort. Holiday finished with 27 points, 10 boards, 11 assists, one steal and two 3-pointers in 46 minutes. He had a coming out party after Boogie Cousins went down for the season. Holiday will be a top-30 pick in redraft leagues next season.
The Warriors will look to defend their title against the Rockets this weekend in what looks to be the real NBA Finals.