HOU 112, UTA 102: Paul scores 41 as Rockets eliminate Jazz

Australian ace Joe Ingles will need a big game if Utah are to win in Houston in the NBA playoffs

Australian ace Joe Ingles will need a big game if Utah are to win in Houston in the NBA playoffs

Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors will face the Houston Rockets for a place in the National Basketball Association finals after the Western Conference heavyweights wrapped up series wins on Tuesday (Wednesday in Manila).

The Houston Rockets and Golden State Warriors wrapped up their conference semifinals series Tuesday to set up a showdown in the Western Conference finals. Whether or not that was weighing on Paul, he certainly brought his A game for the Rockets 112-102 win over the Jazz to end the series and send he and his teammates to the Western Conference Finals. But, after the game five win, Barkely went on TNT and said he would be surprised if the Western Conference Finals went five games if the Rockets face the Warrirors.

However, the Warriors are the underdogs in Game 1, with the Rockets holding a 2-point advantage. Instead it was the wily veteran, who gave us glimpses of the Paul we fell in love with early in his career in New Orleans.

Ingles said his Jazz were unable to match the Rockets' firepower. That included the Rockets' final 18 points over the final six minutes, when he scored 15 points and fed PJ Tucker for a dagger 3-pointer with 35 seconds remaining. He's the first player in playoff history to have at least 40 points and 10 assists without a turnover since turnovers became an official statistic in 1977-78, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. For the Rockets, James Harden will probably be guarded by Andre Iguodala or at certain times Klay Thompson.

"We won two championships in three years". He scored 20 points in the fourth quarter, a career-high for most points in a quarter (regular season and playoffs). "That's all fine and dandy in January, but now they got us, and we got them".

"We've got a goal".

It should matter a little who the Warriors play.

The three Warriors-Rockets games were about as anticipated as any in the regular season: Golden State lost two of the three, and the final combined score of those matchups was Warriors 353, Rockets 352.

In Game 4, the Jazz channeled all action towards the middle of the floor and forced Paul to beat them from mid-range.

The night finished in heartbreak for the exciting rookie, who suffered a game-ending knee injury following a collision with James Harden in the fourth quarter.

That lineup did play 18 minutes across two games against the Rockets last season, to predictably successful results.

Still working his way back into game shape after a missing more than five weeks of action, Curry dropped in 13 of his team-high 28 points in the quarter.

Donovan Mitchell was the Utah Jazz's leading scorer with 24 points and he scored 22 of them in the third quarter.

On the season, the Warriors are averaging 113.5 points (1st), 43.5 rebounds (17th) and 29.3 assists (1st).

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