2018 NBA Playoffs: The Rockets blast off in the third quarter

Houston Rockets

Playoff results April 24, 2018

1. Houston Rockets 119 – 8. Minnesota Timberwolves 100 (Rockets lead 3-1)

5. Utah Jazz 113 – 4. OKC Thunder 96 (Jazz lead 3-1)

Playoffs April 24

What happened in the Playoffs today?

1. Houston have 50-point third quarter balst

The Minnesota Timberwolves got a Game 3 win to save the sweep. They were looking for more than the sweep in Game 4. They were looking to even the series against the Houston Rockets. Minnesota was off to a good start.

They finished the first quarter tied with the Rockets. More than being tied in the opening quarter was that they limited the high-powered Rockets offense to just 21 points. The best thing about that quarter was they they limited James Harden to 0/7 shooting to start the game. The Rockets found their footing in the second quarter but the Timberwolves were able to keep in step with them.

Houston came into the third quarter with only a one-point lead. Then insanity happened.

Harden opened the third quarter by roasting Karl-Anthony Towns with a series of dribbles before driving to the hoop. Chris Paul followed it up with a straightaway three-pointer off a screen. That was a sign of things to come. The Rockets reeled off 11 straight points to open the quarter. Minnesota was limited to just five points in the first six minutes of the the third quarter.

After the 11-0 run to start the quarter, Harden started cooking. He reeled off nine straight points. He wasn’t just content on dropping three-pointers. He was aggressive in getting to the paint and attacking the basket. After his 0/7 start, Harden scored 22 points in the third quarter to lead the team.

When the smoke cleared, the Rockets scored 50 points in the third quarter and were up by 31 points. The game was over at that point.

This was the highest scoring quarter since the LA Lakers did it in 1987. This explosion by the Rockets also set the franchise record. More importantly, that third quarter blast gave Houston a commanding 3-1 lead.

2. Donovan Mitchell dominates

It’s four games into this series between the OKC Thunder and the Utah Jazz and one thing has become clear: Donovan Mitchell is the best player in the series.

He proved that in Game 4 to lead the Jazz to huge 3-1 series lead. Mitchell scored 33 points and seven rebounds to lead the Jazz. That performance set the franchise for scoring by a rookie passing Karl Malone who scored 31 in 1986.

Mitchell outplayed his counterpart Russell Westbrook who was plagued by foul trouble the entire game. Westbrook finished with 23 points and 14 rebounds. But he only had three assists. That caused the Thunder’s offense to take a nosedive. They were limited to just 39% shooting.

On the other end of the floor, the Jazz got scoring from almost everyone on the roster. Besides Mitchell, five other players scored in double figures. The most notable back-up to Mitchell was Joe Ingles who dropped 20 points on five treys.

The Jazz are now a game away from advancing to the next round. The Thunder on the other hand are looking at another early Playoff exit.

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