Jazz Stave Off Elimination in Game Four: 4 Winners, 4 Losers

Chris Paul was one of the few bright spots for the Rockets Monday night.
Chris Paul was one of the few bright spots for the Rockets Monday night. Photo by Jeff Balke
The Rockets have only swept one seven-game series in franchise history. That came against the Orlando Magic in the 1995 NBA Finals. That streak will continue as the Utah Jazz shut the Rockets down in the fourth quarter and stayed alive in the series with a 107-91 win in Salt Lake City.

This game was really a tale of two quarters: the third and fourth. The Rockets owned the thirdafter going down by four at halftime only to see the Jazz (and missing star Donovan Mitchell) come to life in the fourth on both ends of the floor preventing the sweep.


Donovan Mitchell (is Alive)

The Rockets aren't likely to lose this series, probably not even another game, but Mitchell's sudden emergence late in game four isn't great news for Rockets fans. Mitchell had been inefficient at best, just straight up bad at worst for the entire series. He finally had his breakout in game four to blow open the game in the fourth quarter and keep the Jazz alive for one more game.

Jae Crowder

In the first half, Crowder had 18 points. That's two more points than he had in the rest of the series combined. Enough said.

Threes (first through third quarter)

The Rockets, at least for three quarters, were crushing the Jazz from behind the arc, hitting over 50 percent of their shots from distance. The only problem was they couldn't hit anything close to the rim and the three abandoned the Rockets in the fourth quarter.

1990s Basketball Fans

Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler made the trip to Salt Lake City for game four. We assume Jazz fans saw them and immediately began to rock back and forth suffering from PTSD after how many times those two guys whopped up on them. But, there was another characteristic of basketball from 20-plus years ago: rugged defense and low scoring. No, it wasn't the 1994 Finals, but with both teams in the 80s deep into the fourth quarter, it certainly didn't feel like modern day hoops.


Early Risers

Seriously, NBA, what is the deal with 9:30 p.m. CST starts in the playoffs. You think people in LA or Seattle are big demographics for Utah vs. Houston? Games that end the next day on weeknights in the postseason are just idiotic. Stop it, already, he wrote at 12:11 a.m.

Clint Capela

The Rockets big man went 1-6 from the field, looking completely out of sorts on the offensive end of the floor all night, which is probably why he only played 25 minutes.

Bench Scoring

When you get five points off your bench — five — all from Austin Rivers, you aren't going to win many games, particularly in the playoffs on the road. For a bench that has been outstanding all season, this was a serious clunker.

Threes (fourth quarter)

The Rockets went 0-12 from three in the fourth quarter. It didn't have the drama of 0-27 in game seven of the Western Conference Finals last year, but it really was a killer when the Rockets needed shots the most.
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Jeff Balke is a writer, editor, photographer, tech expert and native Houstonian. He has written for a wide range of publications and co-authored the official 50th anniversary book for the Houston Rockets.
Contact: Jeff Balke