Houston Rockets eliminate Utah Jazz from NBA Western Conference playoffs

The mouth-watering match-up is set, but Draymond Green, emotional lynchpin of the reigning National Basketball Association champion Golden State Warriors, says it will be business as usual against a Houston Rockets team created to dethrone them. "It's time to play", Draymond adds.

When it comes to Green and how he sees these Rockets, that interview revealed the raw truth. The numbers back that up, with the Rockets winning more games (65), having a better point differential (8.5), and having a higher offensive efficiency rating (115.5) than any Golden State opponent from 2015-2018.

With James Harden sidelined, the Rockets could not muster up enough to beat the defending champs and dropped the second game of the season series to their rivals from the bay. "If he has that look in his eyes ... he's a problem".

Game one of this series will take place on Monday, May 14th.

It will be Houston's second trip to the Western Conference finals in four years and the first ever for Paul.

The veteran point guard had a sizzling night with 41 points, 10 assists, seven rebounds and no turnovers in a 112-102 victory to finally advance to the first conference finals of his career. He led the way with 20 fourth-quarter points.

There have been some incredibly great plays made during these NBA's Western Conference playoffs. This is Paul's first taste of the conference finals and after seeing his performance against the Jazz in Game 5, you know that he's hungry and feels he has something to prove.

Even with all that in mind, Houston still has to go out and beat the Warriors four times in a seven-game series, something no other team has done since Durant's arrival in the Bay. But when asked what was wrong with him, Harden said he was fine. "For us, like we said before the game and every game, they're in our way".

"Whatever it took to win", Paul said. That's all fine and dandy in January, but now they got us, and we got them. Series victor to the NBA Finals, series loser will undoubtedly feel like they let a championship ring slip away. Golden State signed Durant a year later, and Houston traded for Chris Paul less than a year ago.

"We hope to retain him", said general manager Dennis Lindsey. We have to stay in front of them. The Rockets took the lead for good right after Mitchell left as they went up 84-82 on a Gerald Green three pointer with 9:41 to go: Utah would get no closer than one down the stretch.

"It's just fun", he said. "We are still taking steps toward that, but this is an accomplishment".

Advancing to the Western Conference Finals was nearly just a dream for Chris Paul when he was still playing for the Los Angeles Clippers. It is time for Paul and Harden to show up in the playoffs and get the Rockets back to the NBA Finals. "You got to go out there and play, and we'll see who's better". To me, the hardest championship is the first one, as an individual player and as a team, because you don't know - you don't quite know if you can do it.

  • Julie Sanders