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Streaking Rockets jump on Jazz

China Daily | Updated: 2017-12-09 09:51
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SALT LAKE CITY, Utah - James Harden and the Houston Rockets are defined by their explosive offense, and it got the best of the Utah Jazz on Thursday night.

Harden scored 29 points and Ryan Anderson added 23 as Houston overwhelmed the Jazz during the third quarter en route to a 112-101 victory.

The Rockets poured in seven 3-pointers in the third, which equaled Utah's number of field goals in the same stretch. Harden and Anderson each shot 3 of 4 from the perimeter in the quarter.

"We've got Ryan at the four, and he spaces the floor extremely well, so you got space and guys are able to drive the lane and get up 3s," Harden said. "No different how we play. We get 3s and we take the best of every shot and, defensively, we just try to lock down."

Chris Paul added 18 points, 13 assists and nine rebounds for Houston (19-4), which won its eighth straight game and 14th in 15. The Rockets are 9-0 with Paul in the lineup.

"Having him here has just opened up the court so much more for me and for our shooting ability," Anderson said. "But for me it's just easier looks. It's more open looks."

Donovan Mitchell had 26 points, Alec Burks added 17 and Thabo Sefolosha chipped in 14 to lead Utah (13-13), which dropped its second straight game.

The Jazz played from behind throughout much of the first half after struggling with turnovers and erratic shooting. Utah turned over the ball eight times before halftime, leading to several key baskets for the Rockets.

"That's what they do," center Rudy Gobert said.

"They're very aggressive. They don't have to play defense much, so they steal the ball, drag you off and that's what they do. I had five turnovers, and that's something we need to avoid."

Houston surged in front after Gobert committed back-to-back turnovers less than two minutes into the first quarter.

Utah rallied twice to take the lead, but both runs were answered with bigger ones from the Rockets.

Houston used a 13-2 run early in the second half to pull away. Clint Capela got it going with a three-point play and finished it with a dunk to give the Rockets a 74-53 lead five minutes into the third quarter.

"Our pace picked up a little bit," Rockets coach Mike D'Antoni said.

"We were getting stops and getting out on the break really quickly."

Houston led by 25 points after Ariza buried a 3-pointer in the opening minute of the fourth quarter.

Tip-ins

Rockets: Houston has 41 3-pointers in two games against Utah this season... The Rockets went 14 of 14 from the free-throw line over the final three quarters ... Harden has averaged 35.4 points in his past five games against the Jazz.

Jazz: Utah has allowed at least 37 points in a quarter only four times this season. Three of those high-scoring quarters have come against Houston... Gobert is averaging 5.0 points and 8.3 rebounds in 25.3 minutes per game since returning from a knee contusion.

Rodney Hood has been sidelined for six games because of ankle soreness, and Utah's offense has not been the same without him. Hood was averaging 17.7 points per game and emerged as a reliable sixth man.

Associated Press

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