Chris Paul - a nine-time All-Star and Hall of Fame lock - is finally going to the Western Conference Finals. During his lengthy career, he has been a mainstay in the playoffs. Curry (366) passed Paul Arizin (364) for second place on the franchise postseason list for made free throws.
They know the conference finals will be a bigger challenge.
Paul told ESPN after starring in the Rockets' 112-102 win in Tuesday night's Game 5 to eliminate the Utah Jazz. "CP3!" in the fourth quarter. "He called everybody off". "We've just got to keep doing what we're doing. I don't care what you say, if he has that look in his eyes every single night, he's a problem".
With co-star James Harden under the weather, Paul had perhaps his best postseason performance in his 86th career playoff game.
Much of Paul's work came in true Houston fashion, behind the three-point line. CP3 finished with 20 points in the fourth.
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P.J. Tucker was also huge for Houston.
Houston made 18 3-pointers in the game to give the team 10 or more 3-pointers in a playoff-record 16 straight games.
"His performance tonight was off the charts", D'Antoni said. He was pretty good on offense, too, becoming the first Warrior to average a triple-double in a playoff series.
The Jazz struggled all series with Paul's ability to penetrate the paint. He did his best to spoil things for Paul and the Rockets with a nuclear performance after halftime.
Durant became irate when Nikola Mirotic made a late, hard bump on a 3-point try with 5:23 left in the first - a play that was reviewed and Mirotic received just a common foul. Heading into the final quarter, it was Utah in front, 78-75. After all, Houston had largely dominated the second-round series, star rookie Donovan Mitchell was scuffling and Ricky Rubio and Dante Exum were both on the shelf with hamstring injuries.
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Houston was not going to be denied, though.
For Utah, Alec Burks and Royce O'Neale matched Mitchell's effort to stay alive.
But I also want to make sure that we as fans become aware of how being up 3-1 in a series is nearly all but successful in sports. It doesn't matter to us who we play.
Paul got prickly later when asked to expand on his comments and share what he learned from that series.
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The broadcast crew originally thought a fan - who later turned out to be C.J. - was having some kind of altercation with Chris. But it took Mitchell 24 shots to get there in a night where he has nearly as many fouls (six) as field goal makes (eight).
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