The Houston Rockets opened their playoff quest with a huge win over the Utah Jazz. The Beard and the crew demolished the guests from Salt Lake City with 122-90 and sent a message that they want to finish this series quickly.
Houston won the first period with 31-24 and pretty much maintained that lead throughout the second quarter. But in the late part, they make an 8-0 run which pulls them away to a 52-38 distance, and the halftime ends with the Rockets being up 59-44.
The Jazzers bounced back somehow and got down to just 5, but after that, they didn’t score for more than 4 minutes. When you allow that in Houston, there is no chance of getting out of it without consequences. A quick 10-0 burst of D’Antoni’s guys once again created a comfortable lead.
Then came the fourth quarter in which Houston demolished Utah dropping 39 points and allowing only 19. At the start of it, Utah decreased the deficit to 10 points, before allowing another 10-0 run of the hosts, who were looking very fresh and inspired at the time.
As time went by, that advantage only grew because of a fantastic shooting percentages Houston had. They didn’t miss for two, 9 of 9 and had hit five threes in 10 tries. Meanwhile, Utah was 1 of 6 behind the arc and 5 of 16 for two.
What also hurt Utah in this match were the turnovers which they had 18, compared to only 10 hosts committed. In the playoffs that is a huge difference.
Rudy Gobert had a double-double with 22 points and 12 boards, Donovan Mitchel scored 19 with 5 boards, but had 5 turnovers. Gobert added 4 of them.
Ricky Rubio who came back after a quadriceps injury added 15 with 6 dimes, and Favors had 13.
Houston had a balanced attack and 7 players with double-digit points. Harden had a team-high, as usual, with 29 buckets, getting near a triple-double, with 10 assists and 8 boards.
Clint Capela had a double-double also with 16 points and 12 rebounds, while Eric Gordon scored 17 points. Chris Paus had 14 with 7 assists.
The home team made 15 threes in 41 attempts, while Utah had only 7 hits in 27 tries.
Game 2 is scheduled for Wednesday, and the series goes to Salt Lake on Saturday. Will it come back to Houston, or the whole deal is about to conclude in Utah?