The Utah Jazz are a great young team. They played a great series against the Oklahoma City Thunder. They also ran into a buzzsaw in the Houston Rockets in Game 1 of the second round. This game was pure dominance from the Rockets from start to finish. Defensively they got stops and offensively they made the right plays they needed to.
James Harden led the way with 41 points, eight rebounds and seven assists. Chris Paul chipped in 17 points, while Clint Capela had a double-double with 16 points and 12 rebounds.
For Utah, Donovan Mitchell had 21 points. They’ll look to bounce back on Wednesday night in Game 2.
Rockets 110, Jazz 96 - Final
Aside from a small run in the third quarter, this was all Houston from start to finish.
Rockets 103, Jazz 87 - 3:23 4Q
James Harden with heartbreaking three-pointer to crush any real chance the Jazz just had at making this comeback.
Rockets 98, Jazz 83 - 5:33 4Q
Utah has once again outscored the Rockets in this quarter but the deficit was just too big to overcome. Donovan Mitchell has also gone to the bench with an ankle roll. He has 21 points so far.
Rockets 86, Jazz 75 - 9:15 4Q
Hold on now. The Jazz have cut this to 11.
Rockets 83, Jazz 68 - End of 3Q
Utah won that quarter 29-22. Still trail by 18, but progress is progress.— “Playoff SLC D” (@slcdunk) April 29, 2018
Rockets 72, Jazz 50 - 6:59 3Q
Rockets aren’t necessarily shooting the lights out as they were in the first half but there defense is keeping this game at blowout levels. It’s going to be hard for Utah to hang with this group.
Rockets 64, Utah 39 - Halftime
Gobert loses the ball, and then Crowder has a rebound, a charge and then a turnover before he exits the game. Capela earns a personal, and Gobert sinks both of his free throws. But the Rockets respond, with Capela dunking off a Harden assist, and then Harden sinks a bucket after Exum misses a three. Tucker then sinks a three for the Rockets, and after a miss from Mitchell, Tucker hits another three! It’s an 11-0 run, and Exum loses the ball out of bounds. A couple Rockets misses, and Mitchell stops the bleeding — barely — with a layup at the end of the half.
Rockets 53, Jazz 35: 4:05, 2Q
Ingles puts a move on his man and hits a nice step-back jumper, and then sinks another bucket after Paul drops in a basket for the Rockets. A miss from Paul, then a rebound was followed by Harden making a 23-footer. Capela hits one too, and the Jazz take a timeout.
After the timeout, Crowder hits a three, and Harden sinks both of his free throws after an O’Neale shooting foul. Mitchell gets back in the action with a driving layup, but then misses on a pair of three-point attempts, about 30 seconds apart. Capela puts down a bucket for Houston and Utah takes another timeout.
Rockets 42, Jazz 25: 8:34, 2Q
Ariza and Paul both put up baskets as the second quarter begins, and the Jazz don’t have any answers for them, at least not yet. Ingles missed a three and Utah couldn’t pull down the rebound. Mbah a Moute drives for a layup but Favors denies him at the basket, big time. Mbah a Moute takes a shooting foul, and Favors makes one of two free throws. Gordon goes to the line after that for Houston, on a Burk foul, and sinks his three free throws. Burks gets a steal, and the Jazz have a 5-on-3, but Tucker fouls to prevent a big play.
Rockets 34, Jazz 21: END 1Q
Burks hits both free throws after a Nene shooting foul, and then assists on a Crowder layup as the Jazz try and close the gap. Paul hits another jumper, then Favors gets the Jazz within ten. With less than a second to go in the first quarter, the Rockets get a three from Luc Mbah a Moute, and carry a solid lead into the second.
Rockets 26, Jazz 16: 2:34 1Q
Harden put up the first points of the game for the Rockets with a driving layup, and then hit three consecutive free throws after a Mitchell shooting foul. Over aminute of misses for both teams, then Paul hits a 13-footer for Houston. Harden hits another layup, a jumper, and he’s just taking over this game to start! As expected, of course.
Before the game
The Houston Rockets had the best record in the NBA and tied for the best home record, and they will enjoy their earned home court advantage by hosting the Utah Jazz beginning Sunday with Game 1 of their second-round NBA playoff series at the Toyota Center in Houston.
The Rockets were 34-7 at home this season, and have won 23 of their last 24 in Houston, including winning three times at home against the Minnesota Timberwolves in the first round.
The Utah Jazz are here after dispatching the Oklahoma City Thunder in six games, led by rookie extraordinaire Donovan Mitchell, who averaged 28.5 points and 7.2 boards in his first-ever playoff series.
Houston won all four regular season meetings against Utah this season by an average margin of 17.5 points. Their closest games were a pair of 11-point Rockets wins, both in Utah.
This is the eighth playoff series between the Rockets and Jazz, but the first since the 2008 first round. Utah has won five of their previous seven postseason series, but the two Houston wins came in their championship seasons in 1994 and 1995.
Rockets vs. Jazz Game 1 info
Location: Toyota Center, Houston
Game time: 3:30 p.m. ET
Announcers: Mark Jones, Hubie Brown, Lisa Salters
Online streaming: Watch ESPN