Rockets 112, Jazz 102 - Chris Paul

By Forrest Walker on May 8, 2018

Chris Paul led the Houston Rockets to a victory over the Utah Jazz and will compete in the conference finals for the first time in his NBA career. His skill and intensity were on full display as he exorcised these demons in front of the entire world. For the first time since 2015, the Houston Rockets will return to the Western Conference Finals, but this time as the top seed in the NBA. The time is now for the Houston Rockets, and all they have to do is defeat the best team ever.

After the game, Chris Paul immediately stated that James Harden has been sick, which presumably explains two desultory showings in the last two games. Tonight he scored a mere 18 points on 22 shots, a horrid showing for a player of his talents. Hopefully Chris was truthful in this assertion, and James has at least six days at home to rest and recover. If not, things will get very ugly for the Rockets next round, but that's a different discussion.

The highlight of this game was Chris Paul, putting together an utter masterpiece as he avoided the mistakes of yesteryear. There would be no recovery from the 3-1 deficit for the Jazz. There would be no recriminations. Instead, there were 41 points on 22 shots, there were 10 assists and there were 7 rebounds. This was perhaps his most amazing game as a Rocket, and among his best of all time. When the Jazz roared back and took a lead in the third quarter, Chris Paul was undeterred. His presence has, to date, been exactly in line with the most lurid of Rockets fans' daydreams.

Between James Harden, Chris Paul, and Clint Capela, the Houston Rockets look nearly unbeatable. In practice, they have been, 49-5 this season when all three play, including the regular season and playoffs. The Rockets polished off the first two rounds with only one loss apiece, and even more astonishingly, they made those two losses look like anomalies. Playoffs game 1 vs the Minnesota Timberwolves was the only playoff victory for the Rockets that was under a ten point margin. This team is incredibly, unbelievably, ground-shakingly good.

Now, they are rewarded with a trip to the Western Conference Finals, home court in hand, with six days off and zero travel miles to book until game three. They enter not after an incredible comeback after a long series, but after a cruise as the clear favorites. This is the best Rockets team you have ever seen. There's a chance this is the best Rockets team you will ever see in future.

The most important thing to do is just to enjoy it.

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