Photo by Troy Taormina/USA Today

Rockets Overwhelm Jazz In Game One Rout

Rockets take 1-0 series lead

April 15, 2019 - 12:59 am

HOUSTON (SportsRadio 610)- In their playoff opener, the Rockets held the Utah Jazz to 39 percent shooting and forced 19 turnovers in a 122-90 win Sunday night at Toyota Center. 

Despite attempting just three free throws, James Harden led the Rockets with 29 points, eight rebounds, and 10 assists, while making all three of those free throw attempts as the Rockets take a 1-0 series lead.

Five other Rockets scored in double-figures. Eric Gordon scored 17, connecting on three three-pointers. Clint Capela gave the Rockets 16 points and 12 rebounds. Chris Paul chipped in 14 points, while Chris Paul and Danuel House added 11.

Donovan Mitchell's three-pointer with 6:03 left in the first quarter tied the game at 17, but Harden's step-back 18 second later put the Rockets back on top and started a 14-4 burst. The first quarter ended with the Rockets up 31-24. The Jazz whittled the lead down to four when Derrick Favors split a pair of free throws less than four minutes in the second. The Rockets scored the next six points, and then Tucker capped an 11-2 run with the Rockets third trey in as many possessions, putting them up 17. The Rockets led by 15 at the break. Harden led all scorers with 17 points, while Ricky Rubio scored 13 for the Jazz. 

An ugly start to the second half allowed the Jazz to get within five when Mitchell connected on an 11-footer, but the Rockets regained their footing when Harden found a cutting Capela for a dunk, and after both teams traded empty trips their next four possessions, Gordon ended the dry spell with a three, Harden tossed in a 3-point play, and Austin Rivers finished the 10-0 run with a layup, and the third quarter ended with the Rockets leading 83-71.

With Harden on the bench, the Jazz were able to pull within 10 on Favors dunk, but Faried answered with a couple of free throws, starting a 10-0 streak puncuated by House's three. Utah shaved five points off that lead, but the Rockets got those back and then scored the final dozen points of the night.

Gobert led the Jazz with 22 points and 12 rebounds, while Mitchell scored 19 points. 

The Rockets and Jazz will play game two of their Western Conference first round series Wednesday night at Toyota Center.