HOUSTON – Closeout Tuesday has arrived for the Rockets, but finishing a playoff series isn't necessarily as easy as you might think.
"It's all about desperation. The team facing elimination will be desperate and you have to be ready to match the energy and it can be hard," Rockets head coach Mike D'Antoni said Monday as the Rockets prepared at Toyota Center.
The Rockets will be motivated because the last thing they want to do is get on a plane and return to Salt Lake City for a Game 6 Thursday.
Keys to a win
It's all about defense for the Rockets. When they do their job, the Jazz have no answers -- as seen in games 3 and 4.
The Rockets need to bring it from opening tip to the final seconds. They know what a win will mean and will feed off of a fired up crowd.
3. James Harden and Chris Paul.
Not much to say about these two. They do what they do. In Game 4 they were not afraid to drive and draw contact. Paul had his floater going and Harden got to the free throw line. They combined for 51 points.
4. Clint Capela.
The guy is a beast. In Game 4 he dominated with 12 points, 15 rebounds and 6 blocks. Five of his blocks came in the final 2 minutes and 39 seconds of the game. He has been consistent throughout the postseason. D'Antoni and his players said Monday his aggressiveness and energy on thr floor have been his biggest improvements.
5. Three-point shooting.
The Rockets live and die by the three for the most part but they showed in Game 4 even on an off night they can still find ways to win games. In Game 5 it will be important for guys like Eric Gordon and Trevor Ariza to regain their touch.
The Rockets want a win and a chance at some rest before meeting the Golden State Warriors or New Orleans Pelicans in the Western Conference Finals. They know what's at stake and I believe they will answer the bell and send the Jazz packing.