The Utah Jazz tried to pressure the left-handed James Harden to his proper to make issues harder on him on Recreation 1 of their first-round playoff collection towards the Houston Rockets on Sunday evening.
Did not matter a lot to Harden and the Rockets although. He nonetheless led the workforce in scoring and helped facilitate strong offensive nights from everybody else within the beginning lineup within the lopsided win.
Harden had 29 factors and 10 assists to assist the Rockets rout the Jazz 122-90 within the opener of the best-of-seven collection.
Houston’s whole beginning lineup had not less than 10 factors. Eric Gordon had 17, Clint Capela scored 16, Chris Paul added 14 and P.J. Tucker had 11.
“They toss stuff at him and so they may get him a bit of bit and he figures it out and they do not get him anymore,” coach Mike D’Antoni stated in regards to the defensive technique on Harden. “He is so good offensively it makes me snicker. He is simply so good I do not know what you do … you are not stopping him. I do not care what you do.”
Harden wasn’t shocked at Utah’s defensive tactic.
“I’ve seen actually each protection you’ll be able to probably see,” he stated. “So it was only a matter of adjusting and persevering with to speak with the fellows of what spots they wanted to be in.”
The Rockets had a double-digit lead for a lot of the recreation, however the Jazz bought inside 5 factors halfway by the third quarter earlier than Houston used an enormous run to drag away and sail to the victory.
“The third quarter we bought some stops and we did not get pictures on the opposite finish and that is robust to beat,” Jazz coach Quin Snyder stated.
It is the second consecutive yr the groups have met within the postseason after the Rockets eradicated Utah in 5 video games within the second spherical final season.
Recreation 2 is Wednesday evening in Houston.
Houston was up by 15 within the fourth quarter earlier than Harden, who had eight rebounds, scored six factors in a 9-2 run that stretched the result in 108-86 with 4 minutes left and each groups cleared their benches a couple of minute after that.
Rudy Gobert had 22 factors and 12 rebounds to guide the Jazz after not scoring greater than 15 factors in a recreation within the playoff collection towards the Rockets final season. Donovan Mitchell had 19 factors, however didn’t have an help because the Jazz went lengthy stretches with out scoring.
Mitchell was disillusioned along with his assist-to-turnover ratio.
“No assists. 5 turnovers. That is large,” he stated. “You’ll be able to’t haven’t any assists and 5 turnovers.”
Ricky Rubio began after lacking 4 of the final 5 video games of the common season with a quadriceps harm. Rubio, who completed with 15 factors, did not play towards Houston within the playoffs final season after injuring his hamstring in a first-round collection win over the Oklahoma Metropolis Thunder.
Houston had a 12-point lead getting into the fourth quarter and an 8-Zero spurt, with two 3-pointers from Danuel Home, prolonged it to 95-75 with 9 minutes remaining.
The Rockets led by 17 when Harden re-entered the sport a couple of minute later. Quickly after he returned he discovered Home behind the 3-point line within the nook and drove to the basket and completed with a one-handed slam.
The Rockets have been up by 15 at halftime, however Utah opened the second half with a 10-Three run, with six factors from Gobert, to chop it to 62-54 with 9 minutes left within the third.
The Jazz bought inside 5 with a shot from Mitchell later within the third, earlier than the Rockets scored subsequent 10 factors, with a Three from Gordon and a three-point play from Harden, to make it 76-61 with about 4 minutes left within the quarter.
Mitchell ended a Utah scoring drought of about four ½ minutes after that with a 3-pointer, however Harden hit a Three seconds later to go away the Rockets up 79-64.
Utah lower into the lead a bit after that and trailed 83-71 after three.
Jazz: Derrick Favors had 13 factors. … Utah went 7 for 27 on 3s. … The Jazz had 18 turnovers. … Jae Crowder scored 9 factors off the bench.
Rockets: D’Antoni was again on the sideline after lacking Houston’s final three regular-season video games with an intestinal virus. … Corridor of Famer and former Rocket Hakeem Olajuwon watched the sport from a courtside seat. … Houston made 15 3-pointers, led by 4 from Harden.
Capela performed regardless of coping with an higher respiratory an infection that stored him out of shape two days this week. Houston’s middle stated he nonetheless wasn’t feeling nice and hopes he is higher by Wednesday.
“It was onerous,” he stated. “I might say it was most likely my hardest recreation … it felt type of onerous to breathe like I am used to.”
THEY SAID IT
Mitchell on transferring on after the blowout loss: “Truthfully we may have gained this recreation by 90 or misplaced this recreation by 90 … for us it is nearly making changes and never overreacting to what occurred.”
After Recreation 2 on Wednesday the collection strikes to Utah for Recreation Three on Saturday and Recreation four on April 22.