NBA Playoff results: April 25, 2019
5. Utah Jazz (93) – 4. Houston Rockets (100)
8. LA Clippers (129) – 1. Golden State Warriors (121)
What happened in the Playoffs today:
1. Clips win another one in Oracle
There was no dramatic 31-point comeback this time around. There was just Lou Williams, once again proving how sweet (and deadly) his game can be.
After Kevin Durant tied the game at 116 with three minutes left in the game, Williams got to the line on a foul from Durant to put the Clippers up by one. In the next possession, Durant once again got to the hoop for a slam, putting the Dubs up by one, their first lead since the second period.
Williams calmly asked for the ball on the inbound and set up on the right wing. He used a screen and quickly pulled up from three-point land over Durant. The shot swished in and the Clippers jumped back ahead. The Clippers then forced a stop and Williams drove right at Durant once again, banked in a fader to extend the lead up to five points.
After Patrick Beverley drew a charge on Klay Thompson, Williams sank a 15-foot jumper, the dagger to seal the win.
Sweet Lou finished with 33 points and 10 assists. He practically dueled with Durant all game long. Durant had 45 points and six assists to lead the Warriors.
Just like their Game 2 win, Williams got a lot of help from bench partner Montrezl Harrell. The big man connected with Williams several times for easy dunks and buckets close to the hoop. Harrell had 24 points and five baords. Williams and Harrell combined for all but two of LA’s bench production.
It wasn’t just Williams and Harrell. Beverley was his usual pesky self, making big plays on the defensive end even if he had only one shoe on.
I’ve never seen anything like this. Beverley loses his shoe but still mixes it up down low and draws a charge, shoe in hand. pic.twitter.com/lTtlhHKWHr
— BBALLBREAKDOWN (@bballbreakdown) April 25, 2019
Then there’s rookie Landry Shamet. While Beverley mixed it up with the likes of Durant, Green and Thompson, he dutifully defended Steph Curry. Curry still got his numbers but he had to work for every point with Shamet draped all over him. Curry finished with 24 points but was a -3 for the game. Shamet scored only six points but was a +17.
One of the things we're finding out in this series is that Landry Shamet is a MUCH better defender than most have given him credit for. Steph Curry is 10/29 over his last two games and while some of that is just him missing, a lot of it has to do with defense like this from Sham pic.twitter.com/YByKuyDKng
— LA Clippers Film (@LAClippersFilm) April 25, 2019
The Warriors had the Clippers on the edge, but the Clippers just pushed their way back into the series. The Warriors could have ended the series on their home court. Now they have to go back to Staples and try to beat a gritty Clippers team in front of a vicious crowd.
More importantly, this loss shows that the Warriors do have a chink in their armor this season. The West has been preparing to take them down for three seasons now. Each team is equipped with different weapons to try and take down the Warriors. For the Clippers, they had their league-best bench scuttle the Warriors.
This is the first two-loss first round series of the Warriors in the KD era. This is just the second time they lost two games in a Playoff series in the past two years. Golden State could easily come back next game and win the series. They do have all the firepower they need to finish the job. But the Clippers will definitely make them work for that W.
2. Harden and Houston advance
The Rockets finally finished the job in Game 5. They had a gritty stand in the end game, making crucial stops and nailing big free throws to eliminate the Jazz.
PJ Tucker grabbed another big offensive board and nailed two clutch free throws. James Harden had a big block on Rudy Gobert and sank two free throws as well. Chris Paul added two safety free throws in the dying seconds to seal the win.
This was another superb defensive effort by the Jazz. They were able to limit the Rockets to just 44% shooting and 35% from beyond the arc. They allowed only 100 points, the third straight game they limited the Rockets to below 105 points.
Unfortunately, the Jazz figured out the Rockets too late. Houston had already built a 2-0 lead off massive blowout wins. When they finally adjusted, the Rockets were able to steal a game in Utah after the Jazz choked away a win. That gave Houston a comfortable 3-0 lead.
In the Playoffs, each game matters. This series was proof of that. Adjust too slow and that could be the end of your Playoff life in as early as two games. Because the Rockets beat the Jazz, they get an extra day’s rest, waiting for the winner of the Warriors-Clippers series.
Photo from Getty Images