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Houston Rockets beat pesky Jazz in five games, advance

HOUSTON, TX - APRIL 24: James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets greets fans on the way to the locker room after Game Five of the first round of the 2019 NBA Western Conference Playoffs between the Houston Rockets and the Utah Jazz at Toyota Center on April 24, 2019 in Houston, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - APRIL 24: James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets greets fans on the way to the locker room after Game Five of the first round of the 2019 NBA Western Conference Playoffs between the Houston Rockets and the Utah Jazz at Toyota Center on April 24, 2019 in Houston, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
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The Houston Rockets are moving on! They beat the Jazz tonight to finish off the five-game series between the two teams. The ultimate test will likely face them in the next round.

The Houston Rockets took care of business in a close one tonight to advance to the second round of the NBA Playoffs. They beat the Utah Jazz once again in five games, just like they did in last year’s postseason.

The Rockets won three home games in the series and one road game to complete the victory. Their only loss was last time out in Game 4 when the Jazz won on their home floor, outclassing the Rockets in the fourth quarter of that one.

Thankfully, the Rockets came out with some fire in this one. In the second half especially, Houston played pretty well. Let’s take a look at how they overcame a tough start offensively to still get the victory.

The pesky Jazz

The Utah Jazz were not going down without a fight. They were locked in on the defensive end of the court from the very beginning, forcing James Harden into a 4-14 shooting first half for just 10 total points.

The Rockets, though, were focused in on the defensive end as well. They held the Jazz to just 42 first-half points despite scoring just 46 of their own. After the first (ugly) quarter, the game was knotted up at 20 a piece.

It was just a tough showing on offense for both teams throughout most of the game. James Harden recovered from his tough start to finish with 26 points, 6 rebounds, 6 assists, 3 steals and 4 blocks. Not bad for a guy that had to deal with an insane defensive strategy by Utah that limited his signature step-back jumper.

Utah fought Houston until the very end. They had a chance to take the lead with Ricky Rubio wide open in the corner. Here’s what happened.

Tough luck, Rubio. That one’s going into the embarrassing plays against the Rockets compilation.

Up next

As I’m writing this, the Clippers and the Warriors are neck-and-neck in the fourth quarter of their game. If the Warriors end up winning, they would advance to play the Rockets in the second round in a rematch of last year’s Western Conference Finals.

The game would likely take place on Sunday, possibly even on ABC Primetime in the afternoon. The official schedule for the second round hasn’t been made yet, of course, so we’ll just have to wait and see.

Capela is fighting two illnesses. Next

It’s gonna be a fight against Golden State, obviously. Will the Rockets be able to run it back and overcome their tough loss last season?

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