Western Conference playoffs second-round update: Rockets, Warriors lead

Tristan Winkelman

Sports Blogger

@tristanwink

 

 

Houston Rockets vs. Utah Jazz

Houston holds a 2-1 series lead against Utah with Game 4 on Sunday in Utah. Houston held a big lead in Game 1 and never looked back as it defeated Utah 110-96. The Rockets raced out to a huge lead behind James Harden’s 41 points. Utah looked a bit sluggish at first, probably because its first round matchup with OKC ended just two days prior to Game 1 of this round. Donovan Mitchell struggled from the floor but still managed to put up 21 points. Mitchell is going have to continue to produce if Utah wants to have a chance in this series.

Utah didn’t back down in Game 2 as it won 116-108 to tie the series. Joe Ingles scored a career-high 27 points, shooting 7-of-9 from downtown. Rudy Gobert was a beast down low, adding 15 points and 14 rebounds. Utah held a 19-point lead in the second quarter, but Houston regained the lead in the third. Harden finished with 32 points and 11 assists for Houston. The Jazz pulled away because of some clutch buckets from Ingles down the stretch.

The series switched to Utah, but that didn’t slow down the Rockets’ offense as they won 113-92 to take the series lead. Houston put up 70 points in the first half and never looked back. The Rockets did a great job of spreading out the scoring as five players finished in double figures. Harden had 25 points and 12 assists. Utah never got on track on offense. The Jazz committed 16 turnovers and never seemed to be in any rhythm on offense. Derrick Favors exited with an ankle sprain in the third quarter, finishing with an unproductive night of two points, two rebounds and two assists. The Jazz upgraded Ricky Rubio’s status to questionable for Game 4. His return could provide a much-needed spark for a depleted Jazz team. Game 4 is on Sunday in Utah.

Golden State Warriors vs. New Orleans Pelicans

Golden State holds a 2-1 series lead against New Orleans with Game 4 on Sunday in New Orleans. Golden State dominated Game 1 behind a big second quarter to win 123-101. Klay Thompson led the Dubs in scoring with 27 points, Kevin Durant poured in 26 points and 13 rebounds and Draymond Green recorded his fourth career postseason triple double. The Warriors had a magnificent second quarter, putting up 41 points. The halftime lead was 21 points, and it proved to be insurmountable in Game 1.

(Ezra Shaw, Flickr)

Stephen Curry returned for Game 2 as Golden State held off New Orleans for a 121-116 victory to take a 2-0 lead in the series. It was the Curry show from start to finish as he began the night burying a shot from the tunnel in pregame and finished it with 28 points in only 27 minutes of action. The Pelicans refused to go away, though, as their Big Three of Rajon Rondo, Jrue Holiday and Anthony Davis combined to score 71 points. New Orleans is likely to need scoring outputs like this from the three of them to make this a series.

It was a scoring output they needed, and it was a scoring output they received as the Pelicans blew out the Warriors 119-100 in Game 3. Anthony Davis had a huge night with 33 points and 18 rebounds. Jrue Holiday added 21 points, while Rajon Rondo scored only four points but dished out 21 assists. The change of venue seemed to benefit the Pelicans, as they looked much more comfortable at home. Game 4 is on Sunday in New Orleans.

ozone@ocolly.com

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