Rockets move on after shutting down Jazz
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[April 25, 2019]
James Harden scored a game-high
26 points despite struggling with his shot, and the Houston Rockets
relied on their defense down the stretch of their 100-93 victory
over the Utah Jazz in Game 5 of this Western Conference first-round
series Wednesday at Toyota Center.
Houston claimed the series 4-1 by holding the Jazz scoreless
following a Ricky Rubio 12-footer with 1:32 left. Rubio pulled Utah
to within 94-93 with his pull-up jumper in the lane, but the Rockets
responded with an Eric Gordon steal and a Harden block with the game
in the balance.
Harden shot just 10 of 26 but added six rebounds, six assists, four
blocks and three steals. Rockets forward P.J. Tucker paced the
defensive effort with nine defensive boards and four blocks, and his
two free throws with 54.8 seconds left proved redemptive after he
missed two from the line on the previous possession. Tucker finished
with eight points.
Clint Capela added 16 points and 10 boards for Houston while Chris
Paul and Gordon scored 15 apiece, with Paul adding eight rebounds
and five assists. The Jazz claimed a plus-1 advantage on the boards
and Houston produced a 13-8 edge in second-chance points.
Rubio paired 17 points with 11 assists to co-author the attack for
Utah, which received 18 points off the bench from Royce O'Neale. Jae
Crowder chipped in a double-double (15 points, 10 rebounds) as well,
however, guard Donovan Mitchell labored again for the Jazz, shooting
just 4 of 22 while missing all nine of his 3-pointers en route to 12
points. Utah shot 37.2 percent overall.
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Rockets guard James Harden (13) brings the ball upcourt against the
Utah Jazz during the second quarter in game five of the first round
of the 2019 NBA Playoffs at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Erik
Williams-USA TODAY Sports
Utah withstood the Rockets' initial punch, pulling even at 12-12 on
a Mitchell layup after Houston scored the opening eight points. By
the close of the first quarter, the Rockets had cooled off
completely, shooting just 36.8 percent in the period while
committing seven turnovers.
For a brief spell, the Jazz found some perimeter shooting, with Joe
Ingles drilling 3 of 7 3-pointers while Utah wrestled away the lead.
Harden, meanwhile, continued his struggles, even missing an open
baseline dunk en route to a 1-for-11 start from the floor.
But with the Rockets trailing 39-35, Harden found a spark, making
his final three shots of the half to carry Houston to a 46-42 lead
at the break.
The Rockets extended that run to 21-3 and led 56-44 when Tucker sank
a 3 at the 9:56 mark of the third. But the Jazz were undaunted and
took a 77-75 lead early in the fourth.
--Field Level Media
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