However, last night Paul put the team on his back. Harden wilted in last year's playoffs after having to carry the Rockets offense.
On a night when Harden went 7-for-22 from the field for 18 points - Paul later said Harden was under the weather - Paul did exactly what Houston brought him into do. Including only making one three-point shot out of seven. Houston doesn't have anyone in that group outside of Harden and Paul.
At the beginning of the season, Daryl Morey set a few goals for the Houston Rockets. His night ended with 41 points including eight threes out of ten tries. Paul averages 21.5 points, 9.1 assists, 4.8 rebounds and 2.2 steals per game while putting up a 58.5 percent true shooting and a 25.7 PER. "He took over the game". "In that fourth quarter, he just took over".
In doing so, he squashed the persistent, annoying narrative that has haunted his National Basketball Association career.
In the Jazz's first round series versus the Oklahoma City Thunder, Mitchell outplayed reigning NBA MVP Russell Westbrook and five-time All-Star Paul George to become the first rookie to score 20-plus points in his first six playoff games since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. He certainly seemed ready to will his team to victory, and the Rockets are going to need every weapon they have to advance to the NBA Finals. Wade carved up the Dallas defense en route to what many deem the greatest individual NBA Finals feat ever.
Heading into the 2017-18 season, there were not many ways one could criticize the career of Chris Paul. Tucker was a monster from the corner yesterday connecting on five of seven threes.
Anthony Davis had his best game of the series for the Pelicans, collecting game highs with 34 points and 19 rebounds.
The first half was largely dominated by the Rockets, although as they have all series Utah's defensive resiliency helped them go on runs to sustain their chance of avoiding elimination.
The Jazz had largely been written off as playoff contenders when All-Star forward Gordon Hayward left the team a year ago for the Boston Celtics and started the season with a dismal 19 win, 28 loss record. Houston's center declared that the Rockets were the better team after they defeated Houston 116-108 on January 20. It happened in both 2015 and 2016.
Houston is in the conference finals for the seventh time in franchise history and looking to win its first title since taking back-to-back championships in 1994-95. But in the end, the advantage coming out of quarter No. 3 was way too much to overcome. They suffered injuries to Klay Thompson and Steph Curry.
This series will be no slouch. They lost two of three to the Rockets during the regular season, including the opener at home back in October. In the blink of an eye, the game and series were over. You check out the rest of the schedule here. As good as he is at protecting the rim, he struggled in the series. It is going to be a monumental challenge for the Jazz to do it a second time.