Rockets advance to NBA playoffs, facing Golden State


AP Photo/Jeff Chiu

Houston Rockets guard James Harden, right, shoots against Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson during the second half of Game 1 of a second-round NBA basketball playoff series in Oakland, Calif., Sunday, April 28, 2019.

Frederick Barnes, Staff Writer

The Houston Rockets will advance to the second round of the NBA Playoffs. Wednesday night April 24, the Rockets defeated the Utah Jazz 100 to 93.

During the first quarter James Harden could not find a rhythm. Harden started the game 1-of-11 and looked as though he was still on a shooting slump from the previous game. The Utah Jazz guarded Harden with an unorthodox style of defense that seemed to contribute to his lack luster offense.

Utah was literally playing behind Hardens back practically daring hem to take a lay-up. Eight minutes into the third quarter, the Rockets up by 10 points however. P.J Tucker and Eric Gordan contributed much needed shots that help the Rockets control the tempo of the game.

Chris Paul penetrated the lanes consistently and provided back to back buckets with the game tied 80 apiece in the fourth quarter. Rockets player Clint Capela came up with a huge offensive rebound and put back lay-up, that sent the Rockets stadium into a frenzy.

Capela was also fouled on the play but missed both of his free-throws. With three minutes remaining in the game Utah Jazz player Jae Crowder hit a big time three- pointer that put the Jazz within one. James Harden got going and started taking advantage of the Jazz’s unorthodox defense by knocking down a much-needed floater shot.

With less than a minute remaining Harden stole the ball from Utah and got fouled on the play and was sent to the line. Harden finished the game with 26 points, six rebounds, and six assists. Paul finished the game with 15 points, eight rebounds, and five assists.

The Houston Rockets lost to The Golden State Warriors this past Saturday in a game that came down to the wire. Last year the Rockets went seven games against Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors but lost 92 to 101 in game seven of that series.

Paul did not play last year due to injury, so it is very possible the Rockets could defeat the Warriors this time around, given the face that Paul is healthy now.

In 2018, Harden signed a 4 year/$117,964,846 contract extension with the Houston Rockets, with an annual average salary of $29,491,212. Paul has also signed a lucrative deal with the rockets which entails a four-year 160-million-dollar deal to keep the future Hall of Famer in Houston. Paul and Harden seem to play well together, and both players are on a quest for their first NBA Championship Title. But the 7ft guard Kevin Durant and the Warriors stands in their way.

Hopefully the Rockets can develop a game plan to contain both Curry and Durant. If so, the Rockets could go deeper in the play-offs and bring a Championship Title back home to Houston. But Harden and coach Mike D’ Antoni have complained about the refs lack of officiating and have compiled a list of infractions dating back to last season.