The Houston Rockets are moving on to the Western Conference finals. Despite a strong challenge from the Utah Jazz in Game 5, the Rockets pulled away in the fourth quarter to secure a 112-102 victory. Chris Paul led they way with 41 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds, outdueling Donovan Mitchell, who went for 24 points and nine assists. The Rockets will now get a few days of rest before taking on the winner of the Warriors-Pelicans series, which Warriors leads 3-1.
Here are a few takeaways from the Rockets' big Game 5 win:
CP3 breaks the curse
For the first time in his career, Chris Paul is heading to the conference finals, and he certainly earned the trip. With James Harden under the weather, and struggling from the field -- he went 7 of 22 from the field -- Paul took over the game. He poured in 41 points, a playoff career-high, dished out 10 assists and grabbed seven rebounds. It was arguably the best postseason performance of Paul's career, and it came at the perfect time. He scored 20 of his 41 points in the fourth after the Jazz had not only gotten back into the game, but had taken the lead. That was exactly the type of performance the Rockets were envisioning when they went out and trade for Paul in the summer.
Chris Paul the first player in NBA history to have at least 40 points with double-digit assists and no turnovers in a playoff game.— Jonathan Feigen (@Jonathan_Feigen) May 9, 2018
Donovan Mitchell is a star
Not that it was really up for debate after his performance in the first round, but Mitchell's performance Tuesday night confirmed his status. For anyone to go into an elimination game on the road and dropin a quarter is impressive, but to do so as a rookie in just your 11th career playoff game is remarkable. His third quarter -- highlighted by an awesome, -- was the type of thing that builds legends. Unfortunately, he appeared to go knee-on-knee with James Harden in the fourth quarter, and had to be . He wasn't able to return to the game. That certainly hurt the Jazz as they ran out of gas in the final remaining minutes with Mitchell on the bench. He finished the game with 24 points and nine assists.
Rockets' 3-point shooting shows up at long last
Under head coach Mike D'Antoni, the Rockets were one of the league's most prolific 3-point shooting teams in the regular season. They launched over 42 3s a game, and still managed to finish in the top half of the league in 3-point percentage. But in Games 2-4, their shooting from the outside abandoned them. They continued to launch the shots, but couldn't get many to fall, going 31 of 111 in those three games, which seems absurd when written out. But in Game 5, the caught fire. Paul dropped eight triples, P.J. Tucker added five, and the team went 18 of 39 (46.2 percent) from deep, making it only the third time all postseason they shot above 40 percent on 3s.