Houston Rockets

Three takeaways from Chris Paul's huge Game 5 as Rockets advance with win over Jazz


The Houston Rockets are heading to the Conference Finals, thanks to a powerhouse performance from Chris Paul.

Paul exploded for a playoff career-high 41 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds, dominating from start to finish as the Rockets held off the Utah Jazz 112-102.

With CP3 putting on his best performance of the season Tuesday here are three takeaways from Game 5.

Chris Paul = Man on a mission

Nobody wanted to win this game more than Chris Paul as he finally sealed his first trip to the Conference Finals.

With James Harden struggling on offense (7-of-22 FG), Paul took the wheel and kept the Rockets attack humming, scoring 20 of his 41 points in the fourth quarter. Paul got whatever he wanted from mid-range, and was evend eadlier from deep, connecting on a scorching 8-of-10 from the three-point line. The Jaz just couldn't slow him down no matter who they put on him.

Paul's ability to control games is a luxury the Rockets didn't have last year, especially when Harden isn't firing. Whenever the Jazz tried to claw their way back in, Paul provided a steadying hand to keep getting good looks at the rim or from three. When his teammates weren't hitting shots, he just took over.

The small window of success the Jazz had, came when Paul was off the floor in the third quarter when they went on a 12-0 run. He promptly returned to the court and put an end to that.

Houston's perimeter defense

The one game the Rockets lost this series was when the Jazz lit them up from the three-point line, burying 15-of-32 from deep in Game 2. Houston learned their lesson quickly and haven't allowed them the time or space on the perimeter to do that again and today was the perfect example of that.

Paul, Trevor Ariza, P.J. Tucker and Luc Mbah a Moute ran the Jazz shooters off the three-point line, forcing them to find their offense in the paint and deal with Clint Capela, who finished with five blocks on the night.

Joe Ingles (2-of-6) and Donovan Mitchell (2-of-7) their two biggest threats from deep could not get their shots off without a Rockets defender right in their face.

Injuries halt Jazz once again

The Utah Jazz have overcome injuries to several key players all season long, but today was a bridge too far.

Early in the fourth quarter Donovan Mitchell banged his left knee against James Harden and went to the locker room and took the Jazz's chances of victory with him.

Mitchell single-handedly dragged the Jazz back into the game in the third quarter, scoring 22 points on 8-of-11 shooting and with him out of the game, the Jazz simply had no answer for a red-hot Chris Paul.

More from NBA.com

New York Liberty
WNBA's 2021 playoff bracket is set
Yash Matange
LeBron James, Anthony Davis (Los Angeles Lakers)
Who has more All-Stars - Lakers or Nets?
Benyam Kidane
Jaren Jackson Jr., Kevin Porter Jr. and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander are among the leading MIP candidates for 2021-22 NBA season
Our picks for this season's Most Improved Player
NBA.com Staff
Jonathan Kuminga, Golden State Warriors, Josh Primo, San Antonio Spurs, Josh Giddey, Oklahoma City Thunder
Who are the NBA's youngest players?
NBA.com Staff
Jock Landale, Keldon Johnson, Josh Primo
Get to know Spurs' young core
Kyle Irving
Lonnie Walker IV and Dejounte Murray of the San Antonio Spurs
Spurs depth chart for 2021-22 season
NBA.com Staff
More News