A repeat of Game 3, the Rockets never seemed to have any sort of control in Utah on Monday night. Houston was able to keep themselves alive from outside for most of the game. The Rockets answered Utah’s heavy presence in the paint by going 17-33 from three in the first three quarters.
Houston actually entered the fourth with their first lead at the end of amy quarter, 79-76, but a late push and takeover by the Jazz’s young star, Donovan Mitchell, put any hopes of a sweep to rest. Mitchell dropped 19 of his game-high 31 points in the fourth quarter to stave off elimination for Utah.
James Harden had a good game for Houston, but they needed much more for him to keep the Rockets in the game. Harden dropped 30 points on 9-19 shooting, 6-12 from 3, 4 assists, and 2 steals. Chris Paul had his best game of the series, so far, with 23 points, 7 assists, and 8 rebounds on 8-19 shooting.
While P.J. Tucker (13 points, 3-6 3PA) and Eric Gordon (16 points 5-10 3PA) turned in their typical productive nights on both ends, Houston desperately needed at least one more to step up. Unforunately, Capela didn’t look like himself out there. Winded and lacking his typical aggression, Capela saw just 28 minutes of play and scored only 4 points on 1-of-6 shooting and had a very atypical 7 rebounds and 0 blocks. Hopefully, further will be revealed about his status later.
Much credit is given to the Jazz’s role players who, until the fourth quarter, carried Utah to its victory. Ricky Rubio showed another side of his game, attacking the paint and finding guys in their spots. Rubio churned out 18 points and a game-high 11 assists. Jae Crowder was the opponent’s leading scorer for the most of the game, tallying 23 total points on an immaculate 8-13 shooting from the field.
The difference in supporting players was palpable tonight. The Jazz bench scored 28 points on 9-of-22 shooting. Only Austin Rivers scored for the Rockets bench as the second unit eeked out 5 points on 2-of-16 shooting.
Houston maintains a 3-1 lead as they look to close out the series in the comfort of the Toyota Center at what looks to be *GASP* a 7-o’clock game.