Rockets G James Harden was all smiles after avenging Sunday’s blowout loss to Los Angeles with a blowout win of his own.
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The Houston Rockets (2-3) defeated the Los Angeles Clippers (3-2) in a 124-103 blowout, saving themselves from elimination and sending the Western Conference Semifinals series to Game 6 in Los Angeles.
A devastating road loss in Game 4 put the Rockets one game away from elimination. To avoid being eliminated from the series in front of their home crowd G James Harden had one of his best playoff performances to date with a triple-double: 26 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists. Though Harden missed seven of his eight 3-point attempts, he got plenty of help from C Dwight Howard and a surprisingly big game from starting F Trevor Ariza, who put on a highlight-reel of his own at the start of the third quarter.
But it was bench player Clint Capela that may have been one of the more underrated players in the game, going a perfect 4-for-4 on FG attempts to finish with 8 points in just 11 minutes of game play. His strong play in the first half was accented by this massive dunk in the second quarter that gave the Rockets a 9-point lead.
Harden would send the Clippers reeling into halftime with their largest deficit of the series on a buzzer-beating shot to give the Rockets a 15-point lead.
Trevor Ariza took over in the third quarter, first on this beautiful 3-point shot, followed by another as well as a slam dunk – all in the first few minutes of the 3rd quarter:
The highlight phenom of the series Blake Griffin once again led both teams in scoring with a 30-point double-double that also included a game-best 16 rebounds. His highlights in the game included this incredible slam dunk in the third quarter that bit into the Rockets lead – but ultimately would not be enough:
By the end of the third quarter the Clippers had only reduced their deficit by a single point, and in the fourth quarter the Rockets sealed the win with 34 points – outscoring the obviously-gassed Clippers in the final quarter 34-27.
With the win the Rockets have staved off elimination but now head to Los Angeles, where the Clippers have outscored them 252-194 between Games 3 and 4. The Clippers need just one more win to head to the Western Conference Finals, while the Rockets need to win Game 6 and then win Game 7 back in Houston.