13 years in, Chris Paul finally gets into conference finals

first_imgTruck driver killed in Davao del Sur road accident Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. “He’s been under a lot of unfair scrutiny throughout the playoffs and tonight he showed that he wanted it,” Utah star rookie Donovan Mitchell, who is close with Paul, said. “He does it every night, but taking over the way he did was very impressive.”Paul, a nine-time All-Star in his first season with Houston after an offseason trade from the Los Angeles Clippers, also had 10 assists and seven rebounds. His previous career-best in the playoffs was 35 points, which he accomplished three timesThe 33-year-old scored 20 points in the fourth quarter, answering everything the Jazz tried to do in order to close out the game and series.“He was playing with a chip on his shoulder,” Luc Mbah a Moute said. “In that fourth quarter, he just took over.”Paul had been in the conference semifinals four other times before finally getting over the hump this season. He lost to the Spurs 4-3 in 2008 while with New Orleans and was swept by San Antonio in 2012 with the Clippers. He also lost 4-2 to the Thunder while with Los Angeles, and his Clippers had a 3-1 lead in 2015 before Houston won the next three games.ADVERTISEMENT MOST READ Green group flags ‘overkill’ use of plastic banderitas in Manila Sto. Niño feast In Fizdale, Knicks get coach LeBron likes and players praise View comments Lights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew The Rockets were able to close out the series despite Harden, the front-runner for MVP, being under the weather. Coach Mike D’Antoni disclosed that Harden wasn’t feeling well Tuesday, and he looked a little worn down postgame. But when asked what was wrong with him, Harden said he was fine.Paul said he was just trying to pick up the slack with Harden not feeling like himself.“Whatever it took to win,” Paul said. “James was under the weather so we were just trying to pick him up.”Houston lost to the Warriors 4-1 when they last reached the conference finals in 2015. They believe they’re much better suited to match up with Golden State this time around, but know it won’t be easy to dethrone the defending champions.“They’ve been built to beat everybody,” general manager Daryl Morey said. “They’re going to be a tough matchup. We’ll have to bring our A-plus game and I think our guys are ready.”While the Rockets took a minute Tuesday night to appreciate what they’ve done so far, they were quick to point out that they’re far from finished chasing their goals this season.“We just advanced in another series which is an accomplishment, but that’s not our main goal,” Trevor Ariza said. “We are still taking steps toward that, but this is an accomplishment.”Houston is in the conference finals for the seventh time in franchise history and looking to win its first title since taking back-to-back championships in 1994-95.Harden loves that he has so many players around him that have led to the team’s success this season and thinks that will be valuable moving forward.“In order to get where we want to go we needed the right piece, and that’s what they’re here for,” he said. “I know if we give the effort that we know we can it’s pretty tough to beat us.” Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Scientists seek rare species survivors amid Australia flamescenter_img LATEST STORIES Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard PLAY LIST 02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award Paul scored a playoff career-high 41 points with eight 3-pointers to finally reach the conference finals, helping the Rockets eliminate the Utah Jazz 112-102 in Game 5.“He said you get out of the way … I’m going to put us on my back,” James Harden said. “You could see it in his eyes. He had that look in his eyes. If he has that look in his eyes … he’s a problem.”FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGinebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup titleSPORTSAfter winning title, time for LA Tenorio to give back to Batangas folkSPORTSTim Cone, Ginebra set their sights on elusive All-Filipino crownThe Rockets will meet Golden State after the Warriors closed out their series against the New Orleans Pelicans later Tuesday night. Top-seeded Houston will host the series opener Monday night.It will be Houston’s second trip to the Western Conference finals in four years and the first ever for Paul. The point guard has been panned for failing to get past the second round in his nine previous trips to the postseason. ‘Stop romanticizing Pinoy resilience’ In fight vs corruption, Duterte now points to Ayala, MVP companies as ‘big fish’ P16.5-M worth of aid provided for Taal Volcano eruption victims — NDRRMC Volcano watch: Island fissures steaming, lake water receding Jo Koy draws ire for cutting through Cebu City traffic with ‘wang-wang’ Houston Rockets guard Chris Paul (3) is held back after his brother watching the game was removed from his seat during the second half in Game 4 of an NBA basketball second-round playoff series Sunday, May 6, 2018, in Salt Lake City. His brother later returned to his seat. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)HOUSTON — Chris Paul is an ultra-intense competitor, often the most passionate player on the court.But even for his Houston Rockets teammates, what they saw from him Tuesday night was on another level.ADVERTISEMENTlast_img read more

Virat Kohli-led Test side can regain top spot in rankings: MS Dhoni

first_imgMS Dhoni emphasised on the fact that the Indian Test side led by Virat Kohli can regain the top ranking Tests when they play 13 Tests against New Zealand, England, Australia and Bangladesh in India in the coming season.According to the limited-overs captain, the Indian team is working well under the new skipper Virat Kohli and the fact that fast all bowlers are fit and playing well, will really help India’s cause on the upcoming Tests.”I think the Indian Test team is shaping up well. It seemed we were more settled in T20 and ODI but now our team had a good batting experience. If you notice, for the last 2 and a half years, we had the same batting unit, barring one or two changes. So you learn a lot. Test remains the ultimate format,” Dhoni told reporters after the 2nd T20I was washed out on Monday. (Also read: 2nd T20I: Rain denies India victory as West Indies clinch series 1-0)”On top of it, one plus point is that all our fast bowlers are fit now and the way they are bowling. We have 10 proper fast bowlers and it’s an asset. Now we will be playing a lot of matches, so we can rotate our fast bowlers if we want to,” he observed.Dhoni also expressed his happiness about the fact that all the talented players are now performing a well.”As far as performance is concerned, the talent and experience of the team has started to get reflected in the performance and in the times to come, this season we will be playing 13 Tests and I think by the end of it if everything goes well, touchwood, we will be the number one team in the world and the gap between the first and second team will be substantial,” he added.advertisementTalking about the T20 series, Dhoni said that the additional spinner in the second game paid off against the World T20 champions as they were bowled out for less than 150 after scoring a blistering 245 in the first T20 at Florida. “I don’t think the wicket changed a lot. It is same as the last wicket. It is the exposure that they had in the last game, it gave them the ability to go back and think about their own game plan and often when there is no break between two matches, it actually helps the bowlers to quickly go back and plan. It is the execution that matters and I think it was great. Addition of a spinner also paid off well. Mishra bowled really well. I felt it was the whole bowling unit who could restrict them to 140, it was a brilliant effort,” said the 35-year-old from Ranchi.PLENTY OF POSITIVES TO TAKE AWAYDhoni said there is plenty of positives to take away from the short series.”There is plenty to take away. The way we chased down 244 odd (245) and came close in the last game was a difficult one. The reason being once you have so many runs to chase, it puts you under pressure to score right from the start and the batsmen did it pretty well,” he said.”When it comes to bowling, the first game was tough for the bowlers but the way they came back in the second game, it was fantastic, it showed a lot about the character of the bowling unit. We have a more experienced unit. They have played a lot of Test cricket and also have the experience of playing at IPL and shorter format.”As a unit, the bowlers are looking good. As a batting unit, it was slightly different from the World T20 team, it was a chance for a few youngsters to come and grab the opportunities. The biggest was the way Rahul batted yesterday. Of course, the result didn’t go in our favour but overall a lot of positives. (Also read: Lokesh Rahul joins Suresh Raina, Rohit Sharma in elite company)”The concern for me was the fact that quickly we have to adapt to the shorter format and most of the guys were playing Test match before this so the transformation had to be great and I think all the team members responded well to that.”Dhoni also gave a positive response to the idea of hosting more cricket matches in the USA.”This is a good journey not only for India but also West Indies, they are closer from here. We can always come back and play a series. Unfortunately, today there was thunderstorm but otherwise the weather was good. It suits cricket,” he said.advertisement”Overall, when you play cricket, one is player’s passion and the other thing is host broadcaster, they want to make money, the fans want to come and watch live cricket. Overall it seemed a good product. (Also read: Mahendra Singh Dhoni wants more T20s in United States)”The timing suits broadcaster. It is good for the fans. Overall it is a win-win scenario. But it will cramp our schedule but I don’t think many players will complain, we are used to it.”If it becomes too busy, some players may opt out but as far as the other things are concerned, if it fills in all the gaps then I think it is a good venue and we would like to comeback and play cricket,” he added.(With PTI Inputs)last_img read more