With the Houston Rockets severely shorthanded, Eric Gordon stepped up to have a monumental game in a victory over the Utah Jazz.
There was no way the Houston Rockets were supposed to win in Utah on Monday. Due to a combination of rest and injuries, they were without the services of James Harden, Russell Westbrook and Clint Capela for the matchup. Oh yeah, and the Utah Jazz had won 14 out of 15 games and had a gaudy home record of 18-3. As such, the Jazz were understandably favored by double digits before tipoff, but Eric Gordon showed why you can never count out the Rockets.
Not only did Houston come away with a 126-117 victory over Donovan Mitchell and the Jazz, but they did so in convincing fashion. The biggest lead Utah would ever possess would be just four points, which came early in the game. Playing inspired basketball, the Rockets outhustled the Jazz all night long, even outrebounding them 40-38 despite playing a much smaller lineup for the majority of the game.
While it took a total team effort to come out on top, it was the play of Air Gordon that propelled the Rockets to another stratosphere in the second half. Now in his 12th year in the league, Eric had the game of his life on Monday, which was topped off with a 50-piece in the scoring column.
Going into the game, Eric Gordon’s previous game-high with the Houston Rockets was 36 in a 2018 matchup with the Washington Wizards. In that game, he shot 8-for-16 from the 3-point line. Splash Gordon has actually made eight threes five separate times, which is his record for made treys in a game. As far as career numbers, Gordon’s highest-scoring game came as a member of the LA Clippers when he dropped 41 on the Oklahoma City Thunder.
E-Money shattered these records with his 50 points on Monday, but the most impressive part is the way in which he did so.
Known as mostly a deadly outside sniper when Harden and Westbrook are on the court, Gordon doesn’t venture into the paint and draw fouls nearly as often as he did in his first few years in the league. This season, he’s shooting just 2.6 free throws per game and averaging a career-low 69.1 percent from the charity stripe.
More from Space City Scoop
- Houston Rockets: The case for, and against, trading Christian Wood
- NBA Rumors: Why the Houston Rockets shouldn’t trade up to no. 1 in NBA Draft
- 3 players that would be a perfect fit for the Houston Rockets at 23 or 24
- Houston Rockets: It’s official, Tilman Fertitta was wrong about Chris Paul
- Houston Rockets: Top-8 Rockets ranked by trade value
Against Utah, however, Eric showed he’s more than capable of still attacking the basket aggressively and drawing contact. Now the main option for a night, Gordon got to the line a staggering 20 times. Even better, he converted on 16 of those attempts for 80 percent.
Gordon’s stat-line from the free-throw stripe tied his career-high for both makes and attempts, as he had an identical 16-for-20 night in 2010 as a member of the Clippers. Eric is way too good of a shooter to be hovering near the 70 percent mark from the line, so a night like Monday could be just what he needs to turn things around in that department.
Scoring wasn’t the only thing Gordon did well against Utah. His six rebounds were the most he’s had since he recorded six on Christmas Day of 2018. Being a 6-3 guard, the effort Gordon showed to pull down six boards against a team with Rudy Gobert shows just how tuned-in he was throughout the game.
On the NBATV broadcast of the game, former Rockets coach Kevin McHale said this is the biggest win of the season for Mike D’Antoni and company. Thanks to Eric Gordon, the Rockets can now take comfort in the fact that their supporting cast is capable of competing and winning at the highest level even when their stars need to sit out.
Want your voice heard? Join the Space City Scoop team!
With a date with the Portland Trail Blazers looming on Wednesday night, the Rockets should be supremely confident in their game and have revenge on their minds.