Rockets: How Eric Gordon’s 50-piece sent the Utah Jazz into a tailspin

Houston Rockets Eric Gordon (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
Houston Rockets Eric Gordon (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images) /

In January, Eric Gordon dropped 50 points on the Utah Jazz in the most improbable of wins for the Houston Rockets, and they haven’t been the same since.

To say the Houston Rockets were shorthanded in a showdown with the Utah Jazz last January would be an understatement. The team was without three of their starters and their three best players at the time in James Harden, Russell Westbrook and Clint Capela. Still, they managed to dominate a healthy Jazz squad on the back of Eric Gordon.

In a game where the Rockets’ biggest deficit was just four points, Gordon dropped a career-high 50 points to drop the Jazz in their own building, 126-117. Even more demoralizing for Utah, they actually shot a better percentage for the game, shooting 50.6 percent to Houston’s 46.9.

Helping Gordon carry the load was the duo of Austin Rivers and Danuel House, who both pitched in 21 points, the latter of which also pulled down a team-high 11 rebounds.

While the victory was undoubtedly the most impressive one of the season for Clutch City, the loss for the Jazz seemed to completely reverse the course of their season. Going into the matchup, Donovan Mitchell and the Jazz had won four straight and a remarkable 14 of 15 games.

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After the humiliating defeat, Utah dropped four more games in a row – a pair to the Denver Nuggets and one each to the Portland Trail Blazers and San Antonio Spurs. While they recovered from that for a four-game winning streak that included a buzzer-beating victory over the Rockets, they still haven’t looked like the team that once won 14 of 15.

The Jazz since followed that winning streak with another four straight losses that included two more against non-playoff teams (the Spurs again and the Suns) and another one against James Harden and the Rockets.

All-in-all, Quin Snyder’s club is 4-8 since that game after a Wednesday loss to Boston, dropping them to sixth place in the Western Conference.

While they have a relatively easy few games coming up in Washington, Cleveland and New York, the fact that they’ve been losing to sub-500 teams recently doesn’t bode well for them.

The Rockets and Jazz have a storied rivalry that dates back to the days of Hakeem Olajuwon and Karl Malone, and there has certainly been no love lost between the teams over the years.

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While it could just be a coincidence that the Jazz have been falling apart since Gordon’s outburst, I’d like to think Houston had a part in sending their long-time rivals into a rut that they will have a hard time getting out of.