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HOU

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Harden helps Rockets eliminate Jazz with 100-93 win

HOUSTON (AP) In a series where their shots weren't falling like normal, the Houston Rockets managed to close it out with some tough defense.

James Harden scored 26 points and the Rockets outlasted the Utah Jazz 100-93 on Wednesday night to win their first-round playoff series 4-1.

Houston advanced to the Western Conference semifinals for the third straight season and will face the winner of the Los Angeles Clippers-Golden State Warriors series.

The Rockets had 12 steals and 12 blocks, the first playoff game where they had double figures in both since Game 5 of the 1994 Western Conference finals, just before they went on to win their first title.

''We didn't make as many shots as we wanted to ... but these last few games we hung our hat on defense,'' Harden said.

Ricky Rubio cut Houston's lead to 94-93 on a jump shot with about a minute left. P.J. Tucker missed two free throws, but grabbed a loose ball seconds later and was fouled again. This time he made both shots to make it 96-93.

Harden blocked a shot by Ruby Gobert on Utah's next possession and he made two free throws to extend the lead to 98-93 with 38 seconds left.

Donovan Mitchell, who was just 4 of 22, missed a 3-pointer after that and Chris Paul added two more free throws to secure the victory.

''We didn't want to go back to Utah,'' Paul said. ''We wanted to take care of business tonight. All night we were talking about energy. It's always hard to beat a team and close them out.''

The Rockets got a solid game from Clint Capela, who had 16 points and 10 rebounds. He acknowledged having trouble breathing in the Game 4 loss because of an upper respiratory infection and was held to just four points.

''I felt a lot better,'' Capela said. ''I definitely felt like another person than (I did) the last game.''

After scoring 31 points to lead Utah to the victory in Game 4, Mitchell managed just 12 points on a night he missed all nine of his 3-point attempts.

''I'm upset but I'm going to be better,'' the second-year player said. ''Simply put. I wasn't tonight and I'll be better.''

Jazz coach Quin Snyder lamented the difficulties of dealing with a veteran coach like Mike D'Antoni and perennial All-Stars Paul and Harden.

''They're so cerebral that they're able to find weaknesses in your defense,'' he said.

Harden struggled to get going early and didn't score in the first quarter. But after missing his first seven shots and 11 of his first 12 attempts, he finally found a rhythm.

Royce O'Neal came off the bench to lead Utah with 18 points, Rubio had 17 and Jae Crowder added 15. Gobert wasn't much of a factor in this one, scoring just nine points with 10 rebounds.

The Jazz opened the fourth quarter with an 8-0 run to take a 77-75 lead with 9 minutes left. Rubio had two steals and a basket to help Utah go on top.

Houston ended its scoring drought after that, scoring the next five points, capped by a three-point play from Harden to make it 80-77.

Rubio made a 3-pointer for Utah before Paul scored five quick points to extend Houston's advantage to 85-80 with 7 minutes left.

Houston trailed by seven late in the second quarter before using a 14-3 run to lead by four entering the third. Harden scored eight of his 10 first-half points during that run. The Rockets kept it going to start the third, using a 10-2 spurt to make it 56-44 with about 10 minutes left in the quarter. Harden and Tucker had 3-pointers in that span and Capela added a dunk.

Danuel House made a 3-pointer and Harden added a layup seconds later to leave Houston up by 11 later in the quarter. But O'Neal made a 3 soon after that to before Mitchell added a three-point play to get Utah within 68-63 with about 2 minutes left in the third.

Austin Rivers ended Utah's run with a 3-pointer to extend Houston's lead to 71-63.

The Jazz cut the lead to 4 with less than 30 seconds left in the third after scoring four straight points, but Nene made a basket at the buzzer to leave Houston up 75-69 entering the fourth.

MITCHELL'S PERFORMANCE

Harden and Paul were complimentary of Mitchell despite his struggles on Wednesday night and know he has a bright future.

''He's confident,'' Harden said. ''You see what he did last game. He's capable of taking over a game. Once he gets more comfortable in his role ... the sky's the limit for him.''

THEY SAID IT

D'Antoni on his team's win: ''Everybody contributed something and it's by their heart and just their tenacity to get the win. Going forward we're going to need the same thing.''

TIP-INS

Jazz: Utah made 9 of 38 3-pointers. ... Joe Ingles had 11 points and nine assists. ... Rubio had 11 assists.

Rockets: Tucker set a playoff career-high with four blocks. ... Paul and Gordon had 15 points apiece. ... Houston made 13 3-pointers. ... The Rockets had 12 steals.

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1st Quarter

Time Team Play Score
12:00   Jumpball  
11:46 +2 Chris Paul made fade-away jump shot, assist by Eric Gordon 0-2
11:31   Ricky Rubio missed fade-away jump shot  
11:28   Defensive rebound by Chris Paul  
11:20 +3 P.J. Tucker made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by James Harden 0-5
11:02   Jae Crowder missed jump shot  
10:59   Defensive rebound by P.J. Tucker  
10:51   Out of bounds turnover on James Harden  
10:39   Offensive foul on Rudy Gobert  
10:39   Turnover on Rudy Gobert  
10:26 +3 Eric Gordon made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Chris Paul 0-8
10:06   Lost ball turnover on Donovan Mitchell, stolen by Eric Gordon  
10:02   Lost ball turnover on James Harden, stolen by Joe Ingles  
9:54 +3 Joe Ingles made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Ricky Rubio 3-8
9:35   Shooting foul on Ricky Rubio  
9:35 +1 Clint Capela made 1st of 2 free throws 3-9
9:35 +1 Clint Capela made 2nd of 2 free throws 3-10
9:22   Donovan Mitchell missed driving layup  
9:22   Offensive rebound by Rudy Gobert  
9:22   Shooting foul on Clint Capela  
9:22   Rudy Gobert missed 1st of 2 free throws  
9:22   UTA team rebound  
9:22 +1 Rudy Gobert made 2nd of 2 free throws 4-10
8:59   Bad pass turnover on Ricky Rubio, stolen by Chris Paul  
8:53   James Harden missed 3-pt. jump shot  
8:52   Offensive rebound by Clint Capela  
8:45   James Harden missed floating jump shot  
8:43   Defensive rebound by Rudy Gobert  
8:22   Defensive rebound by P.J. Tucker  
8:13   P.J. Tucker missed 3-pt. jump shot  
8:11   Offensive rebound by Clint Capela  
7:58   Chris Paul missed 3-pt. jump shot  
7:57   UTA team rebound  
7:45 +2 Donovan Mitchell made floating jump shot 6-10
7:30   Bad pass turnover on James Harden, stolen by Joe Ingles  
7:23   Jae Crowder missed driving layup, blocked by James Harden  
7:13 +2 Clint Capela made alley-oop shot, assist by James Harden 6-12
6:57   Donovan Mitchell missed 3-pt. jump shot  
6:55   Offensive rebound by Jae Crowder  
6:45   Lost ball turnover on Donovan Mitchell  
6:45   Personal foul on Donovan Mitchell  
6:33   Lost ball turnover on Clint Capela, stolen by Donovan Mitchell  
6:22   Offensive rebound by Rudy Gobert  
6:13   Bad pass turnover on Royce O'Neale, stolen by P.J. Tucker  
6:03   Defensive rebound by Joe Ingles  
5:52 +2 Royce O'Neale made driving layup, assist by Joe Ingles 8-12
5:45   Eric Gordon missed reverse layup  
5:36   Defensive rebound by Royce O'Neale  
5:31   Personal foul on Eric Gordon  
5:24   Shooting foul on P.J. Tucker  
5:24 +1 Donovan Mitchell made 1st of 2 free throws 9-12
5:24 +1 Donovan Mitchell made 2nd of 2 free throws 10-12
5:09   Danuel House Jr. missed driving layup  
5:07   Defensive rebound by Thabo Sefolosha  
4:56   Thabo Sefolosha missed turnaround jump shot  
4:53   Offensive rebound by Rudy Gobert  
4:50   Rudy Gobert missed layup, blocked by James Harden  
4:50   UTA team rebound  
4:37   Donovan Mitchell missed 3-pt. jump shot  
4:35   Defensive rebound by James Harden  
4:22   James Harden missed 3-pt. jump shot  
4:19   Defensive rebound by Donovan Mitchell  
4:16 +2 Donovan Mitchell made layup 12-12
4:02   James Harden missed driving layup, blocked by Derrick Favors  
3:59 +2 Clint Capela made layup 12-14
3:32 +3 Eric Gordon made 3-pt. jump shot 12-17
3:14   Personal foul on Danuel House Jr.  
3:01   Defensive rebound by Danuel House Jr.  
2:56   Offensive foul on Chris Paul  
2:56   Turnover on Chris Paul  
2:40   Georges Niang missed driving layup  
2:38   Defensive rebound by Kenneth Faried  
2:27   Out of bounds turnover on Austin Rivers  
2:14   Shooting foul on Chris Paul  
2:14 +1 Ricky Rubio made 1st of 2 free throws 13-17
2:14 +1 Ricky Rubio made 2nd of 2 free throws 14-17
2:02   Personal foul on Joe Ingles  
1:55 +2 Kenneth Faried made floating jump shot 14-19
1:43 +2 Royce O'Neale made floating jump shot, assist by Ricky Rubio 16-19
1:27   Chris Paul missed 3-pt. jump shot  
1:25   Defensive rebound by Joe Ingles  
1:09 +3 Joe Ingles made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Royce O'Neale 19-19
0:55   Out of bounds turnover on Austin Rivers  
0:43   Personal foul on Kenneth Faried  
0:43   Derrick Favors missed 1st of 2 free throws  
0:43   UTA team rebound  
0:43 +1 Derrick Favors made 2nd of 2 free throws 20-19
0:32   Defensive rebound by Joe Ingles  
0:25   Bad pass turnover on Ricky Rubio, stolen by Kenneth Faried  
0:06   Shooting foul on Derrick Favors  
0:06 +1 Danuel House Jr. made 1st of 2 free throws 20-20
0:06   Danuel House Jr. missed 2nd of 2 free throws  
0:06   Defensive rebound by Donovan Mitchell  
0:00   Georges Niang missed 3-pt. jump shot  
0:00   UTA team rebound  
0:00   End of period  

2nd Quarter

Time Team Play Score
11:45   Donovan Mitchell missed floating jump shot  
11:39   Offensive rebound by Derrick Favors  
11:39   Derrick Favors missed dunk  
11:38   Defensive rebound by Chris Paul  
11:27 +2 Chris Paul made jump shot 20-22
11:13 +3 Jae Crowder made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Joe Ingles 23-22
10:28   Defensive rebound by Chris Paul  
10:19   James Harden missed 3-pt. jump shot  
10:18   Personal foul on James Harden  
10:08 +3 Joe Ingles made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Ricky Rubio 26-22
9:44   Shooting foul on Eric Gordon  
9:44   Jae Crowder missed 1st of 2 free throws  
9:44   UTA team rebound  
9:44 +1 Jae Crowder made 2nd of 2 free throws 27-22
9:31 +2 Clint Capela made alley-oop shot, assist by James Harden 27-24
9:00   Defensive rebound by James Harden  
8:53 +2 James Harden made driving layup 27-26
8:28   Derrick Favors missed dunk, blocked by P.J. Tucker  
8:26   Defensive rebound by Clint Capela  
8:19   P.J. Tucker missed 3-pt. jump shot  
8:16   Defensive rebound by Derrick Favors  
8:11   Joe Ingles missed 3-pt. jump shot  
8:10   HOU team rebound  
7:50   UTA team rebound  
7:36   Donovan Mitchell missed floating jump shot  
7:33   Defensive rebound by Gerald Green  
7:26   Shooting foul on Joe Ingles  
7:26 +1 Clint Capela made 1st of 2 free throws 27-27
7:26 +1 Clint Capela made 2nd of 2 free throws 27-28
7:15   Jae Crowder missed 3-pt. jump shot  
7:13   Defensive rebound by James Harden  
7:09   James Harden missed 3-pt. jump shot  
7:06   UTA team rebound  
6:55   Personal foul on P.J. Tucker  
6:46 +2 Rudy Gobert made layup, assist by Joe Ingles 29-28
6:33   Gerald Green missed 3-pt. jump shot  
6:32   UTA team rebound  
6:15   Bad pass turnover on Donovan Mitchell, stolen by Gerald Green  
6:14   Personal foul on Royce O'Neale  
6:05   Gerald Green missed 3-pt. jump shot  
6:02   Defensive rebound by Rudy Gobert  
5:52 +2 Ricky Rubio made reverse layup, assist by Rudy Gobert 31-28
5:35 +2 Nene made layup, assist by James Harden 31-30
5:26 +2 Jae Crowder made layup, assist by Ricky Rubio 33-30
5:12   Eric Gordon missed driving layup, blocked by Rudy Gobert  
5:09   Offensive rebound by Nene  
5:09   Shooting foul on Rudy Gobert  
5:09 +1 Nene made 1st of 2 free throws 33-31
5:09 +1 Nene made 2nd of 2 free throws 33-32
4:59   Ricky Rubio missed fade-away jump shot  
4:57   Shooting foul on James Harden  
4:57 +1 Rudy Gobert made 1st of 2 free throws 34-32
4:57 +1 Rudy Gobert made 2nd of 2 free throws 35-32
4:27 +2 Rudy Gobert made dunk, assist by Ricky Rubio 37-32
4:12   Out of bounds turnover on Eric Gordon  
3:54   Defensive rebound by Nene  
3:43   Defensive rebound by Rudy Gobert  
3:26 +2 Rudy Gobert made layup, assist by Ricky Rubio 39-32
3:03 +3 James Harden made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Eric Gordon 39-35
2:38 +2 Royce O'Neale made driving layup, assist by Donovan Mitchell 41-35
2:25 +2 Nene made jump shot 41-37
2:11   Donovan Mitchell missed driving layup, blocked by P.J. Tucker  
2:10   Defensive rebound by Eric Gordon  
2:10   Personal foul on Jae Crowder  
1:47   P.J. Tucker missed 3-pt. jump shot  
1:45   Defensive rebound by Rudy Gobert  
1:38   Donovan Mitchell missed 3-pt. jump shot  
1:24   Personal foul on Royce O'Neale  
1:24   Eric Gordon missed 1st of 2 free throws  
1:24   HOU team rebound  
1:24 +1 Eric Gordon made 2nd of 2 free throws 41-38
1:06   Offensive rebound by Royce O'Neale  
1:05   Defensive rebound by P.J. Tucker  
0:58 +3 James Harden made 3-pt. jump shot 41-41
0:43   Personal foul on Chris Paul  
0:43   Jae Crowder missed 1st of 2 free throws  
0:43   UTA team rebound  
0:43 +1 Jae Crowder made 2nd of 2 free throws 42-41
0:32 +3 Eric Gordon made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by James Harden 42-44
0:11   Royce O'Neale missed driving layup, blocked by Clint Capela  
0:08   Defensive rebound by Clint Capela  
0:03 +2 James Harden made driving layup 42-46
0:00   End of period  

3rd Quarter

Time Team Play Score
11:38 +2 Ricky Rubio made fade-away jump shot, assist by Rudy Gobert 44-46
11:24 +2 Eric Gordon made driving layup, assist by Clint Capela 44-48
11:18   Bad pass turnover on Donovan Mitchell, stolen by James Harden  
10:59 +3 James Harden made 3-pt. jump shot 44-51
10:50   Defensive rebound by P.J. Tucker  
10:35 +2 Clint Capela made dunk, assist by Chris Paul 44-53
10:23   Ricky Rubio missed 3-pt. jump shot  
10:20   Defensive rebound by P.J. Tucker  
10:12   Defensive rebound by Donovan Mitchell  
10:03   Bad pass turnover on Joe Ingles, stolen by Chris Paul  
10:01   Personal foul on Ricky Rubio  
9:31 +2 Royce O'Neale made driving layup 46-56
9:14   Defensive rebound by Royce O'Neale  
8:59   Personal foul on P.J. Tucker  
8:53   Ricky Rubio missed fade-away jump shot  
8:51   Defensive rebound by Danuel House Jr.  
8:41   James Harden missed 3-pt. jump shot  
8:38   Defensive rebound by Joe Ingles  
8:23   Bad pass turnover on P.J. Tucker, stolen by Joe Ingles  
8:19   Jae Crowder missed 3-pt. jump shot  
8:17   Defensive rebound by Clint Capela  
7:50 +2 Royce O'Neale made dunk, assist by Joe Ingles 48-56
7:35   P.J. Tucker missed 3-pt. jump shot  
7:35   Defensive rebound by Jae Crowder  
7:18   Offensive foul on Royce O'Neale  
7:18   Turnover on Royce O'Neale  
7:08 +2 James Harden made floating jump shot 48-58
6:52 +2 Jae Crowder made dunk 50-58
6:46 +2 Clint Capela made layup, assist by James Harden 50-60
6:32 +2 Ricky Rubio made reverse layup 52-60
6:18 +3 Danuel House Jr. made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by P.J. Tucker 52-63
6:00   Offensive rebound by Rudy Gobert  
5:58   Lost ball turnover on Rudy Gobert, stolen by Danuel House Jr.  
5:52   Out of bounds turnover on James Harden  
5:37 +3 Royce O'Neale made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Ricky Rubio 55-63
5:18   James Harden missed 3-pt. jump shot  
5:11   Jae Crowder missed layup, blocked by P.J. Tucker  
5:11   UTA team rebound  
5:09   Royce O'Neale missed layup  
5:06   Defensive rebound by Danuel House Jr.  
5:03   Out of bounds turnover on Danuel House Jr.  
4:39   Defensive rebound by Derrick Favors  
4:30   Shooting foul on Clint Capela  
4:30 +1 Derrick Favors made 1st of 2 free throws 56-63
4:30 +1 Derrick Favors made 2nd of 2 free throws 57-63
4:17 +3 Danuel House Jr. made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Eric Gordon 57-66
4:00   Defensive rebound by Danuel House Jr.  
3:54 +2 James Harden made driving layup 57-68
3:33   Offensive rebound by Thabo Sefolosha  
3:18   Lost ball turnover on Thabo Sefolosha, stolen by James Harden  
3:12   Bad pass turnover on Eric Gordon, stolen by Derrick Favors  
2:59 +3 Royce O'Neale made 3-pt. jump shot 60-68
2:43   Eric Gordon missed 3-pt. jump shot  
2:35   Donovan Mitchell missed finger-roll layup, blocked by Eric Gordon  
2:31   Out of bounds turnover on Eric Gordon  
2:24 +2 Donovan Mitchell made layup, assist by Georges Niang 62-68
2:24   Shooting foul on Austin Rivers  
2:24 +1 Donovan Mitchell made free throw 63-68
2:11 +3 Austin Rivers made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Chris Paul 63-71
1:53 +2 Georges Niang made floating jump shot, assist by Joe Ingles 65-71
1:30 +2 Chris Paul made floating jump shot 65-73
1:21   Personal foul on Nene  
1:10   Donovan Mitchell missed floating jump shot  
1:08   Defensive rebound by Chris Paul  
0:54   Defensive rebound by Donovan Mitchell  
0:43 +2 Derrick Favors made dunk, assist by Ricky Rubio 67-73
0:33   Offensive foul on Nene  
0:19 +2 Ricky Rubio made jump shot 69-73
0:00   Chris Paul missed driving layup  
0:00   Offensive rebound by Nene  
0:00   End of period