The Houston Rockets reached the semifinals of the West Conference after winning 100-93 at home on Wednesday and the first round playoff series 4-1 over the Utah Jazz, while the Los Angeles Clippers beat the Golden State Warriors 129-121 to force Game 6 back home.
Rockets star James Harden missed his first seven shots, but finally found his rhythm and scored 26 points. Center Clint Capela contributed 16 points and 10 rebounds. Chris Paul had 15 points.
After scoring 31 points to help Utah win Game 4 at home, Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell was just 4 of 22 in Game 5 and managed just 12 points. Royce O'Neale came off the bench to lead the visiting team with 18 points. Ricky Rubio added 17 points and 11 assists. Forward Jae Crowder had 15.
The Rockets led 46-42 at halftime, but Utah never gave up and pulled with 94-93 with just one minute remaining. The Rockets players played solid defense in the final minute and scored six points in a row to secure the victory.
Coming up next for the Rockets will be the winner of the series between the Golden State Warriors and the LA Clippers, who sent their first-round series back home with a 129-121 Game 5 win.
Lou Williams hit a fadeaway jumper with 1:29 left and delivered 33 points and 10 assists off the bench while Patrick Beverley hauled down 14 rebounds for the Clippers.
Kevin Durant claimed playoff career-high 45 points for the two-time defending champions Warriors, who lead 3-2. Game 6 is back in Los Angeles on Friday.