Rockets, Warriors advance to Western Conference finals
The Houston Rockets and reigning champions the Golden State Warriors will square off for the chance to play in the NBA Finals after winning their respective playoff matchups on Tuesday.
Chris Paul will play in his first conference final game after leading the top-seeded Rockets to a 112-102 game-five win over the Utah Jazz.
With James Harden sick, Paul stepped up with 41 points, 10 assists, and seven rebounds to seal a 4-1 series victory.
Donovan Mitchell exploded for 22 points in the third quarter, outscoring Houston by himself. The final playoff game of his stellar rookie season came to a premature end as he exited in the fourth quarter after a left knee collision with Harden.
Mitchell finished with 24 points and nine assists for the Jazz.
Golden State's 'Big Four' propelled the second-seeded Warriors to their fourth successive Western Conference finals by beating the New Orleans Pelicans 113-104 to clinch a 4-1 series victory.
Klay Thompson scored 14 of his 23 points in the first quarter as Golden State raced out to a six-point first-quarter lead.
Kevin Durant knocked down nine of 13 shots after starting one for five from the field en route to 24 points in game five.
Stephen Curry added 28 points while Draymond Green had a near triple-double with 19 points, 14 rebounds and nine assists.
Anthony Davis scored 34 points and grabbed 19 rebounds for the Pelicans but 14 turnovers and a 19-point third quarter derailed New Orleans' late comeback.
Despite having the best record in the NBA this season and winning the head-to-head regular-season series against the Warriors, the Rockets are underdogs to advance to the NBA Finals.
CP3 LAUNCHES ROCKETS
Paul is the first player to have 40 points, 10 assists, and zero turnovers in a playoff game since turnovers became an official stat in 1977-78. He scored 20 points in the fourth quarter, a career-high for most points in a quarter (regular season and playoffs).
CROWDER STRUGGLES AS JAZZ EXIT
Jazz forward Jae Crowder was just two of 11 from the floor with six points and three turnovers in Utah's loss. Team-mate Raul Neto was even worse, failing to knock down a shot and registering a minus-16 in 17 minutes off the bench.
NO STOPPING CP3!
Paul was lights out from the field but he also got a little lucky late in the game.
76ERS (1-3) AT CELTICS (3-1)
The Eastern Conference semi-final returns to Boston as the Celtics look to close out the series and advance to face LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in the conference finals. The Philadelphia 76ers will need another big game from their role players T.J. McConnell and Co. if they are to force a game six back home on Friday.