Dec 2, 2013; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Houston Rockets shooting guard James Harden (13) goes up for a shot while defended by Utah Jazz small forward Richard Jefferson (24) during the first quarter at EnergySolutions Arena. Mandatory Credit: Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports
Coming off their biggest win over the season over the San Antonio Spurs on Saturday, the Houston Rockets laid an egg in Utah. While the injury bug has not been pleasant so far, with Chandler Parsons sitting out this time due to back spasms, and Jeremy Lin sidelined for an extended period of time, an upstart Jazz team pulled off one of the biggest upsets in the early NBA season, coming out with a 109-103 win over the Rockets
Gordon Hayward led the way for Utah with 29 points and 5 rebounds, while Trey Burke added a career high 21 points and 6 assists. Alec Burks also added 21 points, and made 3 huge 3-pointers in the fourth quarter.
A month ago, the Rockets were ran off the floor in the first half against the Jazz at Energy Solutions Arena, but a furious second half rally erased a potential blow-out loss. It had the makings of the same scene as Utah got out to a 36-23 lead after the first quarter, led by 17 points from Gordon Hayward. This time, however, the Rockets made their comeback in the 2nd quarter, going on a 24-10 run that pulled the deficit to just 3 at halftime. But the Jazz kept fighting, playing well above what their record has indicated so far, as Burke and Burks caused all kinds of trouble for the Rockets’ guards in the second half.
James Harden led the Rockets with 37 points and 8 assists, Dwight Howard added 15 points and 9 rebounds. Francisco Garcia scored 13 points in place of Parsons in the starting lineup, while Omri Casspi and Aaron Brooks added 13 points each off the bench. It just wasn’t enough, however, as the Rockets didn’t seem to show up on the defensive end all game, as the Jazz shot over 54 percent from the field for the game, and 59 percent(10 for 17) from behind the 3-point line.
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Fast break points: 14Points in the paint: 46Total Team Turnovers (Points off turnovers): 12 (11)
The Rockets were able to cut the Jazz lead to 101-98 with 2 minutes left, but a crucial turnover by Harden lead to an easy Marvin Williams dunk that pushed the deficit to 5. Harden made up for it with a thunderous slam on the ensuing possession, but Williams made an open 3-pointer that pushed the Jazz lead to 108-100 with less than a minute left to seal the win.
The tandem of Burke and Burks would be too much as well, as they scored 9 of the final 14 Jazz points. Entering into the game, Burks shot just 24 percent from the 3-point line: he went 3 of 4 from behind the arc, while Burke, who entered the game shooting just 34 percent from the 3-point line, went 3 for 6.