Harden has 37 points, Rockets rout Thunder, Westbrook 118-87
DeMar DeRozan had 23 points, Serge Ibaka added 13 of his 16 in the second half and Jonas Valanciunas had 10 points and 10 rebounds for the Raptors, who improved to 5-1 when playing Game 2 of a playoff series on their home court.
Vivint Arena is certain to be rocking with the return of the playoffs for the first time since 2012 and with the Jazz having an excellent opportunity to advance to the second round. Paul helped his team play with an amount of sharpness and urgency that his teammates mirrored this in their decisive win. The contest hinged on LA's ability to squeeze points out of crevices because its outside shooting was missing in action for the second straight game.
Game 2 is scheduled for a 10:30 p.m. EDT start time on TNT. "We didn't necessarily back down or not play, but I thought they played with an intensity and a level from the very beginning of the game that was - it was impressive, and that's who they are, and that's what we expected, and we've got to raise our level now". Minus Gobert, the restricted area was a buffet for the Clippers. But, for reals? If LA was filled with so many bad ashes, why didn't they do this in game one? Utah couldn't really stop it.
The Thunder trailed by 15 entering the fourth quarter, and six straight points by the Rockets extended the lead to 100-78 with about 7 1/2 minutes remaining.
Utah refused to give up in the fourth, and got within six, 92-86, on a Joe Ingles triple with 4:41 left. Jamal Crawford missed a baseline runner from about eight feet away. Miss or make shots, we have to be aggressive like that. Mbah a Moute is averaging 36.5.
Through three and a half quarters, the Clippers looked like they were on their way to the Conference Finals. The other play happened with just under two minutes left. The Clippers reset with Paul handling the ball. "The pressure they put on the rim was significant".
The Big Three for the Clippers stepped up huge in this game. In what may be a more critical indictment of Utah's defensive capabilities sans Gobert than any other fact, Pierce scored not once but TWICE on driving layups. He demolished the rim early on, grabbed rebound after rebound, and altered a lot of attacking decisions by the Jazz. Paul finished with 21 points and 10 assists. J.J.is our best shooter on our team.
Shortly after the first whistle was heard for the Jazz vs. Clippers Game 1, Gobert aimed to protect the first ball possession by providing a screen on teammate Gordon Hayward. They lack the firepower that Los Angeles possesses, however, and they just couldn't pull this game out.
Even without the benefit of reliable perimeter shooting to free up clear massive lanes, Griffin did well to identity chances to slip through the heart of Utah's defense before the Jazz could collapse and harass him.
Dominating the paint was obviously the game plan drawn up by Doc Rivers for Game 2, especially after his team failed to capitalize on Gobert's absence in the series opener.
Los Angeles enjoyed a considerable edge on points in the paint, outscoring Utah 60-38. The percentage was good, but the point and attempt totals were not.