Houston Rockets 104 Utah Jazz 93
In what was a tough, physical battle, the Rockets were able to come out with a 104-93 win in their first road test of the season. A complete second half turnaround in which the Rockets outscored the Jazz 64-37, wiped away a first half filled with turnovers, sloppy play, and lack of effort.
Playing the first back-to-back of the season, the Rockets shot just 41 percent(11 for 27) from the field in the first half, were out-rebounded 27-12 that lead to 16 second chance points for the Jazz, and committed 11 turnovers. James Harden shot 2 for 7, committed 4 turnovers and was pulled out of the game with 3 minutes left in the first quarter, while Dwight Howard struggled, shooting 0 for 4. As poorly as the Rockets looked, it was Chandler Parsons who scored 20 first half points that kept the Jazz lead to 16 at halftime.
Parsons finished with 24 points, 12 rebounds, and 6 assists, while Jeremy Lin added 20 points and 4 assists. Howard didn’t record a field goal until mid-way through the third quarter, but had a big second half and finished with 15 points and 9 rebounds. Howard was challenged all night by the Jazz low post combination of Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter, as they combined for 28 points and 14 rebounds.
Trailing 56-40, the Rockets’ 2nd half comeback began with forcing turnovers and getting out on the fast-break. Harden’s slow start was erased with a huge 3rd quarter boost, primarily in scoring in transition, helped the Rockets outscore the Jazz 33-17. The Rockets also held the edge in fast-break points, 21-8, points in the paint 48-38, and shot 41 percent from behind the 3-point line(9 for 22).
Trailing 85-83 with over 5 minutes remaining, the Rockets closed the game out on a 21-8 run, sparked by Lin scoring 9 points, and the defense getting timely stops. Two 3-pointers from Lin and Harden opened up the lane for easy lay-up attempts for the Rockets, and key free throw misses from Favors and Alec Burks helped put the game away in the final minutes.