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Jazz fend off Rockets comeback, even series

03 May, 2018, 14:28 | Author: Sylvester Abbott
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The Rockets would probably back themselves to win one of the next 2 games in Utah, but they'd be mindful of the fact that the Jazz-Thunder series flipped on its head after Game 2 and they'll have to bring their A-game to win this series.

"I mean, I got some good looks early from my teammates", Ingles said. The Jazz's lead surged to 19 points midway through the second quarter before Harden took over and turned the tide.

Despite a surge in the second and third quarters, the Rockets, who had the best regular-season record in the National Basketball Association, couldn't get back into the game.

Now, the Texas lads are putting their brooms away in just Game 2. "I know this coach [Quin Snyder], he is always going to make adjustments".

"That's in our character to extend the run, in OKC in game five we were up by 20 about the same score and we let the lead go, so we couldn't do that again", Mitchell told TNT after the game. Utah shot 63.6 percent from the floor in the first quarter, including 5-of-8 from 3-point range, with rookie guard Donovan Mitchell feeding Derrick Favors and Rudy Gobert for easy dunks off pick-and-rolls on the first two possessions. I had a few turnovers, had a few bad decisions, but they still believed in me to make plays. The Jazz are also forcing the Rockets into tough outside shots, as they clog driving lanes and force the kick out. The Rockets looked confused in the second half, with Harden struggling in the fourth quarter and Houston's drive-and-kick action stymied.

"Just being poised and staying under control was the biggest thing", Mitchell said.

"We had some time to think about, and talk about what we do", Ingles said post-game.

"Give them credit", Harden said. "He knew tonight he would need to make some shots and he was able to do it". The stats show that Harden finished with 32 points and 11 assists - but by the second half, Harden was playing on tired legs, and missed several shots badly down the stretch.

Harden made a basket after that before Utah scored another eight straight points, with two 3s from Ingles, to make it 108-96 with 4 1/2 minutes left.

Harden ended a 2 ½-minute Houston scoring drought with a three-pointer about a minute later that was the start of a 9-3 run that got the Rockets within 111-105 with 1:46 left.

After taking just four shots in Game 1 and finishing with 11 points, Gobert got going early Wednesday and had 13 points on 5-for-7 shooting by halftime.

The Rockets inbounded the ball from the sideline and went right back to Harden, who forced another switch on Mitchell.

They led the Jazz by 27 points in Sunday's opener but watched that lead dwindle to just 11 points after halftime, as the Jazz found some cracks in the Rockets' improved defense down the stretch.

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