Capela, Rockets defense proving to be a mainstay during the postseason

Clint Capela provided the exclamation point to the Houston Rockets’ 100-87 win over the Utah Jazz, swatting Joe Ingles’ layup attempt just before the final buzzer of Sunday’s Game 4, the big man’s career-high-tying sixth blocked shot of the night.

Rockets superstar James Harden immediately rushed toward him, close enough for the probable MVP’s famed whiskers to brush Capela’s face. Harden grabbed Capela and hollered a congratulatory message,cheap nfl authentic jerseys using a little language you wouldn’t want the national-television microphones to pick up.

“I can’t exactly tell you what I said to him,” Harden said with a smile. “He’s put himself in this position to go out there and play at a high level and do the things that we ask him to do every single night. I mean, he has our back, and it feels good to have somebody have our back like he does. He doesn’t get a lot of credit for it.”

Harden and Chris Paul are Houston’s headliners, but the Rockets knew all along that they needed the 23-year-old Capela to emerge as a legitimate third star to have a legitimate chance to challenge the defending champion Warriors. That happened during the regular season, when Capela averaged 13.9 points and 10.8 rebounds while leading the league in field goal percentage (.652) as the Rockets rolled the NBA’s best record.87

The springy center from Switzerland has taken another big leap during the playoffs. Capela is averaging 15.4 points, 13.0 rebounds and 2.6 blocks per game, and those numbers tell only part of the tale.

For instance, Paul attributes much of his midrange assassination of the Jazz to Capela’s presence. Gobert knows if he strays too far from Capela, Paul will feed him for a dunk, keeping the NBA’s premier rim protector close to the basket. Paul gladly takes those midrange looks — “layups for me” — and knocked down 11 of 17 jumpers inside the 3-point line while scoring a game-high 27 points Sunday.

“It’s so many things that happen throughout the game that don’t show up on the stat sheet,” Paul said of jerseys cheap china “It shows how selfless he is.”