Featured Photo Credit: AP Photo/Tony Dejak

Houston Rockets win second round series 4 games to 1. 

Thanks to a 112-102 Game 5 closeout win over the Utah Jazz, the Houston Rockets punched their ticket to the Western Conference Finals.

For Chris Paul, it will be the first Conference Finals appearance of his 13-year NBA career. Despite making the playoffs in nine of his previous 12 seasons, Paul struggled with both the New Orleans Hornets and Los Angeles Clippers getting past the second round.

During last year’s playoffs, he broke the record for most playoff games played without a Conference Final appearance previously held by Kirk Hinrich. After last season’s Game 7 first round loss, Paul played his 76th career playoff game.

Now with a new team, alongside this season’s likely MVP James Harden, Paul entered the season with hopes of finally breaking through and getting past the second round. He had a chance to do on Tuesday night, and boy, did he play like a man who didn’t want to see that opportunity go to waste.

In Game 5, Chris Paul scored a playoff career-high 41 points. He shot a blistering 13 of 22 from the field, 7 of 8 from the free throw line, and 8 and 10 from three-point land. He also added 10 assists, 7 rebounds, a steal, and no turnovers in nearly 38 minutes on the court.

After the Rockets relinquished an eight-point halftime lead, ending the third quarter with a three-point deficit, Paul saved his best basketball for the 4th quarter.

Paul was clear in his post-game interview that he wasn’t satisfied and the team had more work to do. He and the Rockets hope to build upon their second round win, as they face the Golden State Warriors in the Conference Finals. The series starts on Monday, May 14th at 9 p.m. on TNT.