Let’s just say Alvin Gentry isn’t about to surpass his mentor Steve Kerr anytime soon.
The Golden State Warriors closed out their five-game series with the New Orleans Pelicans Tuesday night, winning 113-104 behind a 36-19 third quarter that extended their lead to 20 with one quarter remaining.
And even though the Pellies gave a good account of themselves to close the final margin down to nine, the fact remains this one was never in real doubt.
The Warriors shot just 7-of-27 from three as a team; their Big Four hit all seven threes and had all but four of the team’s three-point attempts.
Put another way, Golden State didn’t even shoot exceptionally well (although they did hit 56.2 percent of their two-point shots and 83.3 percent of their free throws.)
They just rode star power and a 53-44 rebounding advantage to a victory in a series-closing Game 5.
No love for Draymond, NBA Twitter guy?
— NBA (@NBA) May 9, 2018
Oh, here you go, courtesy of the Warriors themselves:
— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) May 9, 2018
(never mind that LeBron James might do this over an entire playoffs if he keeps carrying the Cavs on his back.)
The Great Lull
The Rockets also closed their series, making fools of anyone who believed that Utah had a chance after they won Game 2.
Houston’s 112-102 victory was made possible by their legendary three-point shooting coming back from the dead (Houston made 18-of-39), by Chris Paul going nuclear (41 points, seven rebounds, 10 assists, 13-of-22 shooting including 8-of-10 from three) and…
…well, OK, by Chris Paul going nuclear. James Harden stunk out the joint (18 points on 7-of-22 shooting), once again showing that if we get the Rockets-Cavs Finals we so richly deserve and Harden is announced as MVP, LeBron is going to do to him what Michael Jordan did to Charles Barkley in 1993 and Karl Malone in 1997.
Donovan Mitchell gave a very good account of himself in Game 5; he was 2-of-7 from three but 7-of-10 from two-point range to finish with a 52.9 percent shooting night and 24 points. He is well on his way to truly emerging as a star in Year 2, and the Jazz are a team of the future in the Western Conference.
Trouble is, the Warriors and Rockets are the teams of right now, and their showdown in the conference finals with all four Warriors stars healthy and everyone rested since the series doesn’t start until next Monday…well, Houston has home court, but they’re the underdog.
Meanwhile, let’s celebrate Chris Paul giving a foam fan-sized middle finger to the idea that he can’t win in the playoffs…especially since he had no turnovers at all. Not only did he not choke the game, he did not choke a single play:
According to Elias Sports Bureau, @CP3 becomes the first player in a playoff game with:
🏀 40+ points
🏀 10+ assists
🏀 0 turnovers
Highlights ⤵️ pic.twitter.com/54EkqXUh7M
— Houston Rockets (@HoustonRockets) May 9, 2018
Or, if in a Rockets sort of way you want to distill this to CP3’s three-point shooting, we can do that too:
Paul finished with 41 PTS 🔥 pic.twitter.com/fSj5iYZRtf
— NBA TV (@NBATV) May 9, 2018
But now for the real burning questions…namely, will the refs continue to screw the Celtics so that we are not left with a weekend without basketball? The league didn’t plan on things ending this quickly…
But hey, bright side, if the Celtics win, I’ll have dead air to fill and that means you the reader will get a Breakfast Special on Saturday that’s one part conference finals preview and one part article about actual breakfast. If that’s not a reason to root for the Celtics (yes, we play favorites here at Pace and Space, we used to have two rabid Celtics fans on active duty around here), then I don’t know what is.
But even if you’re a Sixers fan, stay tuned, and thanks for reading!