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West Conf. Semis - Game 5: Utah Jazz 102-112 Houston Rockets - 5 Talking Points

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381   //    09 May 2018, 12:01 IST

James Harden and Donovan Mitchell
James Harden and Donovan Mitchell

The Houston Rockets wasted no breath in finishing their Conference Semifinals series at the first available opportunity. Coming into this game on the back of 2 morale-boosting victories at the Vivint Smart Home Arena, the Rockets were not lacking for confidence by any stretch of the imagination.

They did have to be wary of the Jazz coming out swinging, and the Jazz played their part in keeping Game 5 mightily close till the end of the 4th quarter. Unfortunately for them, they suffered from yet another injury hurdle as Donovan Mitchell was forced off the hardwood with a knee problem in the 4th quarter.

Chris Paul was already heating up at that point, and he sealed the deal with some delectable offensive play right at the end of the game. The Point God left no stone unturned in ensuring a smooth passage into the first Conference Finals series after 85 games of postseason play.

The following are 5 talking points from the elimination game:

#5 The battle for paint dominance was fascinating

Utah Jazz v Houston Rockets - Game Five
Rudy Gobert dunking one home

Rudy Gobert had, so far in the series, been outplayed considerably by his opposite number Clint Capela. It was a topic raised several times on the broadcast by Reggie Miller and co in the TNT coverage team.

Gobert responded to all this talk with a showing more reminiscent of his form in the series against the Oklahoma City Thunder. He controlled his own paint area with characteristic dominance, and he managed to establish much better positions and make better plays on offense than he had all series long. The Stifle Tower finished with 12 points, 9 rebounds and 5 vicious blocks and a credible +/- of +2 in a 10-point loss while altering a number of shots from inside the paint.

Capela pretty much picked up where he left off in Game 4. The Swiss man was much more comfortable switching out onto the perimeter than his French counterpart on defense, while controlling the paint area handily as well. Capela was not involved in much offensive play, but he did have 7 rebounds, 3 steals and 5 blocks to add to his 5 points, and he was one of the primary reasons why the Utah Jazz finished the first quarter with a below-average 16 points on the scoreboard.

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Started as an Arsenal fan at the age of 6. Became a Ronaldo and a Real Madrid fan after the 2002 World Cup. Bandwagon Celtics fan this season, though I've watched the NBA with increasing frequency over the past 14 years or so. Played both games with my high school team at some of the highest levels there are in India. Played against East Bengal u-17s in college. A member of Mercurial FC, 1st division Amateur League team in Bangalore.
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