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Rockets finish off Jazz to set up likely showdown with Warriors  4 Weeks ago

Source:   USA Today  

James Harden was patchy and his team far from perfect, but the Houston Rockets are marching on to the Western Conference semifinals, courtesy of a hard-fought series-clinching victory over the Utah Jazz.

Harden scored 26 points in a 100-93 Game 5 win on Wednesday, pitching the Rockets into a likely rematch against the Golden State Warriors, whom they took to the brink in last season’s conference finals. The Warriors lost Wednesday night, but they still have a 3-2 series lad on the Los Angeles Clippers.

Having surged to a 3-0 series lead, things became a little tricky for Houston. After surrendering Game 4 on the road, Wednesday's showdown was tight and tense right up until the point where the Jazz lost their shooting touch over the final few minutes.

Clint Capela added 16 points and 10 rebounds in a powerful performance for the home side, which arrested an early-season slump to play their way into form at just the right time.

Veteran guard Chris Paul believes the toughness of the Utah matchup will stand the team in good stead for what lies ahead.

"That’s a good team over there," Paul said. "You know how deep the West is. We knew they weren’t going to go away easy. That’s how it is in the playoffs, it is totally different to the regular season. By the time you get to Game 5 everybody knows (how you play)."

Royce O’Neale led Utah with 18 points as their season ended in disappointment. The Rockets, meanwhile, will hope to see Harden back to his imperious best in the next round.

"We just have to worry about us," Paul added. "We will just watch the (Warriors-Clippers) game like everybody else in the world and see what happens."

 

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