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Postby liny195 » Sat Aug 11, 2018 5:47 am

HOUSTON — Any lauding of the Houston Rockets‘ resilience in Game 4 on Tuesday at Oracle Arena begins with an acknowledgment of their defense Vita Vea Jersey , with cliched adjectives serving the general purpose of explaining how they overcame a double-digit, fourth-quarter deficit to claim victory and square the Western Conference Finals before the series relocated back to Toyota Center.

But for a series rife with adjustments, the truth of how Houston salvaged its championship aspirations lies within the minutiae. Methodically and stubbornly, the Rockets have invited the Warriors to play their brand of isolation basketball, influencing Golden State for long enough stretches to temporarily secure advantages with a style of play that blatantly benefits Houston.

The fourth quarter of Game 4 offered a prime example. The Warriors claimed their largest lead of the contest at 82-70 when Stephen Curry assisted on a Shaun Livingston dunk at the 10:45 mark. That play produced the 14th and final assist of the evening for Golden State.

“We scored 12 points,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said of the fourth period. “So it’s not like we were getting great shots either.

“It was sort of trench warfare. It was just everybody grinding it out, a lot of isolation. I guess this is the modern NBA. But the only way you can do this and win is you have to have great one-on-one players. You’ve got to have great defenders, two-way guys, and we do and they do. And so, it just becomes a one-on-one battle with all the switching Marcus Davenport Jersey , and they did a great job of it.”

The Warriors paced the NBA in assist percentage (68.5) during the regular season. The Rockets, conversely, ranked 22nd at 55.7 percent, relying on the isolation brilliance of James Harden and Chris Paul. And while Golden State features two exceptional one-on-one talents in Kevin Durant and Curry, isolation basketball doesn’t reflect the Warriors’ offensive identity.

The Warriors’ 14 assists in Game 4 represented a series low. Their 48.2 assist rate in the series is worse than the Rockets’ assist percentage (49.3), a remarkable and surprising development. The final period on Tuesday revealed Golden State at its most unrecognizable and disjointed.

“I think we just got a little rushed,” Curry said. “I think some of the mix-ups we had on defense affected our energy on the offensive end. And credit to them: We know they’re doing a lot of switching and trying to force us into one-on-one-type situations, but that’s no excuse to not get the ball moving, trusting what we do best. And whether it’s the first quarter, second quarter Josh Allen Jersey , or crunch time in the fourth, we got to be us. And that’s going to be the adjustment for Game 5.”

With Game 5 set for Toyota Center on Thursday, the Rockets have a clear understanding of their most immediate mission. Their season-long defensive might has served them well during crucial spans against the Warriors, with Houston scrambling and contesting at a fevered pitch.

The moments when the Warriors get rolling offensively have been harrowing for Houston, yet the Rockets mustered the gumption in Games 2 and 4 to claw back into contention behind their defense. When Golden State threatened to run off to a 3-1 series lead, Houston was unbowed.

“These are the moments that we spend all that time for,” Paul said. “Mental toughness is just as important as physical toughness, and I think guys on our team showed that.”

That level of perseverance wasn’t attached to the Rockets’ collective identity or aligned to Harden individually. But in Game 4, Houston finally won at Oracle Arena and snapped the Warriors’ 16-game home postseason winning streak. After falling to the Warriors in five games in consecutive postseasons, the Rockets have finally cleared one hurdle. Another one awaits.

“We came a long way Authentic John Ross Jersey ,” Harden said. “Obviously new personnel but we came an extremely long way, and we’ve been talking about it all season long (starting in the) summertime: put ourselves in the best position, and we’re doing that. And so, another opportunity Game 5, we’ve got to come out and take advantage of it. Simple.”

LeBron James hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer, a crowning moment for another brilliant performance, to give Cleveland a 98-95 victory over the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday night in Game 5, putting the Cavaliers within one victory of advancing in the Eastern Conference playoffs.

Moments after blocking Victor Oladipo’s possible go-ahead driving layup, James caught the inbounds pass, took two dribbles and dropped the winner over Thaddeus Young.

As Cleveland’s sellout crowd exploded Cheap Vita Vea Jersey , James hugged rookie teammate Cedi Osman before jumping on the scorer’s table to celebrate another of those moments that will define his career.

James finished with 44 points, 10 rebounds, eight assists and went 15 of 15 from the line.

Kyle Korver added 19 points and Cleveland’s much-maligned defense tightened just in time as the Cavaliers seized their first lead in the first-round series after being down 1-0 and 2-1.

Cleveland can close out Indiana with a win Friday night in Indianapolis.

Domantas Sabonis scored 22 points, and Young had 16 for the Pacers.

ROCKETS 122, TIMBERWOLVES 104

HOUSTON (AP) – Clint Capela had 26 points and 15 rebounds, James Harden added 24 points and Houston pulled away in the third quarter to finish off Minnesota in five games.

Houston will await the winner of the Utah-Oklahoma City series. The top-seeded Rockets are headed to the second round for the second year in a row after taking care of the eighth-seeded Timberwolves.

Karl-Anthony Towns led the Timberwolves with 23 points and 14 rebounds, and Jamal Crawford added 20 points. Minnesota was in the postseason for the first time since 2004.

THUNDER 107, JAZZ 99

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) – Russell Westbrook scored 45 points and Oklahoma City rallied from 25 points down in the second half to fight off elimination and beat Utah.

Westbrook also had 15 rebounds and seven assists. Paul George added 34 points and eight rebounds.

Utah takes a 3-2 lead back to Salt Lake City for Game 6 on Friday.

Oklahoma City took advantage after Utah’s post players, Rudy Gobert and Derrick Favors, got into foul trouble. Both finished with five fouls James Daniels Bears Jersey , and Oklahoma City was able to get to the basket consistently for the first time in the series. Jae Crowder had a career playoff-high 27 points for Utah. Donovan Mitchell scored 23 points, and Joe Ingles added 16.

RAPTORS 108, WIZARDS 98

TORONTO (AP) – DeMar DeRozan scored 32 points, Kyle Lowry had 17 points and 10 assists and Torontobeat Washington in Game 5 to take a 3-2 series lead.

Toronto rebounded after losing Games 3 and 4 in Washington. Game 6 is Friday night in Washington.

The only team in the NBA to avoid a three-game losing streak this season, the Raptors went 5-0 following back-to-back losses during the regular season, and have not lost three straight since last year’s second-round sweep against Cleveland.

Delon Wright scored 11 of his 18 points in the fourth quarter, and Jonas Valanciunas had 14 points and 13 rebounds for Raptors. John Wall had 26 points, and Bradley Beal added 20 for the Wizards.

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