HOU
UTA

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Paul Scores 27 and Harden Has 24 as Houston wins 100-87

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) Chris Paul says that mid-range jumpers are like layups for him.

The Houston Rockets have emphasized dunks and 3-pointers in becoming one of the NBA's most efficient offenses but Paul's in-between jumpers proved to be the difference when the long-range shots weren't falling.

''I wasn't joking about that,'' Paul said of his layup comment. ''If (Rudy) Gobert's going to back, that's what I'm going to shoot.''

Paul had 27 points and 12 rebounds while James Harden scored 24 points to power the Houston Rockets to a 100-87 win over the Utah Jazz on Sunday night, taking a 3-1 lead in the Western Conference semifinal series.

''It showed a lot of grit for us to come in here and win two games,'' Paul said.

Paul, playing the sidekick to Harden for most of his first season in Houston, took center stage, controlling the tempo and getting to his favorite spots as the Rockets led from start to finish.

''Chris is shooting those shots like a layup,'' Harden said. ''He was extremely aggressive tonight, which we need from him.''

Donovan Mitchell scored 25 before fouling out and Joe Ingles had 15 for the Jazz.

Mitchell started finding lanes to the basket late and got the Jazz within 85-80 after he fueled a 10-2 run, sending the crowd into a frenzy. But Paul, who matched his scoring high for this playoff run, hit a pull-up jumper and found Trevor Ariza for a 3-pointer to put the Rockets back up by double digits and they never looked back.

Houston, which has been known for their offensive firepower, put forth a disruptive defensive effort.

Clint Capela, the anchor of the Houston defense, had 12 points, 15 rebounds and six blocks, one of which featured a Dikembe Mutombo-like finger wag in the fourth quarter.

''We missed 22 shots at the rim,'' Utah coach Quin Snyder said. ''We had our chances and didn't convert. Some of them were contested. Some of them were open. You're not going to get any better shot.''

The Rockets went up by 15 in the second quarter before the Jazz closed to 51-46 on back-to-back three-point plays by Mitchell. Utah trailed 58-48 at the half.

Neither team was accurate from beyond the arc as the Jazz were 7-for-29 and Houston went 10-for-38.

''There's all different ways to win. We're not strictly a jump-shooting team,'' D'Antoni said. ''Chris has the mid-range, James gets to the hole and you got Clint down there. We've got a lot of other stuff we can go to.''

Already without Ricky Rubio, the Jazz lost back-up point guard Dante Exum in the third quarter, also to a hamstring injury. Exum was a surprising offensive spark for the Jazz with 9 points in the first period, but picked up three fouls guarding Harden.

''Houston is that good. Give them credit. They know how to control a game,'' Snyder said. ''In spite of that, I thought we just hung in there and took shots and kept coming and kept coming and eventually couldn't get over the hill.''

TIP-INS

Rockets: Harden's 14 first-quarter points were the most for him in the opening period this postseason. ... Flying to close out on an Ingles' 3-pointer in the second quarter, P.J. Tucker raked the Jazz sharpshooter across the face and earned a Flagrant 1. ... Capela and Mitchell got double technical fouls fighting for rebound in the fourth quarter and Houston coach Mike D'Antoni got another for his reaction to the play.

Jazz: Rubio missed his fourth straight game due to a left hamstring strain suffered in opening round but is close to returning.

SHOT BLOCKERS

Rudy Gobert is a leading candidate for Defensive Player of the Year but Capela has been the most significant deterrent to getting to the basket in this series. He altered 20 shots in this game and has 13 blocks in the series while also making his presence known on the offensive end with double-digit scoring in each contest. ''Every single night, he has our back,'' said Harden, who got in Capela's face and yelled his approval at the end of the game. ''He doesn't get a lot of credit for it and doesn't ask for a lot.''

Near the end of the game, Capela told D'Antoni he needed a rest. But the Rockets called a time out and then the big center said he could finish. He went out and got a couple more blocks. ''He pole-vaulted over the hurdle. He cleared it by a lot. The guy's incredible the whole time,'' D'Antoni said.

UP NEXT

The series shifts back to Houston for Game 5.

Copyright 2018 by AP. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of AP is strictly prohibited.

Key Players
J. Harden
13 SG
D. Mitchell
45 SG
33.4 Min. Per Game 33.4
20.5 Pts. Per Game 20.5
3.7 Ast. Per Game 3.7
3.7 Reb. Per Game 3.7
44.8 Field Goal % 43.5
44.8 Three Point % 43.6
85.9 Free Throw % 80.9
  Defensive rebound by P.J. Tucker 0:01
  Joe Ingles missed driving layup, blocked by Clint Capela 0:01
+ 1 Raul Neto made free throw 0:20
  Unsportsmanlike technical foul 0:20
+ 3 P.J. Tucker made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Chris Paul 0:22
+ 2 Rudy Gobert made dunk 0:31
  Offensive rebound by Rudy Gobert 0:31
  Raul Neto missed floating jump shot 0:35
  Offensive foul on Chris Paul 0:42
  Offensive foul on Chris Paul 0:42
  Defensive rebound by Chris Paul 0:44
Team Stats
Points 100 87
Field Goals 37-88 (42.0%) 32-83 (38.6%)
3-Pointers 10-38 (26.3%) 7-29 (24.1%)
Free Throws 16-17 (94.1%) 16-20 (80.0%)
Total Rebounds 54 53
Offensive 9 8
Defensive 40 37
Team 5 8
Assists 15 16
Steals 11 8
Blocks 9 5
Turnovers 13 16
Fouls 22 21
Technicals 4 1
27 PTS, 12 REB, 6 AST
25 PTS, 9 REB, 2 AST
1234T
away team logo 1 Rockets 3-1 30282121100
home team logo 5 Jazz 1-3 2325172287
Team Stats
away team logo Rockets 3-1 104.9 PPG 43 RPG 18.8 APG
home team logo Jazz 1-3 102.4 PPG 45 RPG 20.3 APG
Key Players
C. Paul PG 18.6 PPG 5.4 RPG 7.9 APG 46.0 FG%
D. Mitchell SG 20.5 PPG 3.7 RPG 3.7 APG 43.7 FG%
Top Scorers
C. Paul PG 27 PTS 12 REB 6 AST
D. Mitchell SG 25 PTS 9 REB 2 AST
42.0 FG% 38.6
26.3 3PT FG% 24.1
94.1 FT% 80.0
Starters MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB FPTS +/-
C. Paul 35 27 12 6 2 1 1 3 12/23 1/6 2/2 2 10 53 +10
J. Harden 36 24 4 3 4 0 8 3 8/22 1/7 7/8 0 4 30 +16
C. Capela 37 12 15 2 2 6 0 2 6/11 0/0 0/0 5 10 39 +3
P. Tucker 34 11 7 1 0 1 0 2 3/6 3/5 2/2 1 6 21 +12
T. Ariza 31 6 4 0 0 0 0 3 2/7 2/7 0/0 0 4 10 +10
Starters MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB FPTS +/-
C. Paul 35 27 12 6 2 1 1 3 12/23 1/6 2/2 2 10 53 +10
J. Harden 36 24 4 3 4 0 8 3 8/22 1/7 7/8 0 4 30 +16
C. Capela 37 12 15 2 2 6 0 2 6/11 0/0 0/0 5 10 39 +3
P. Tucker 34 11 7 1 0 1 0 2 3/6 3/5 2/2 1 6 21 +12
T. Ariza 31 6 4 0 0 0 0 3 2/7 2/7 0/0 0 4 10 +10
Bench MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB FPTS +/-
E. Gordon 25 9 2 2 0 0 2 3 3/10 1/6 2/2 0 2 13 +3
G. Green 12 6 1 0 0 0 0 2 2/5 2/5 0/0 0 1 7 +1
L. Mbah a Moute 16 3 2 0 2 1 1 0 1/3 0/2 1/1 0 2 7 +3
Nene 10 2 2 1 1 0 1 3 0/1 0/0 2/2 1 1 6 +7
R. Anderson - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
R. Hunter - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
M. Brown - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
C. Onuaku - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
T. Black - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Z. Qi - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
J. Johnson - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
A. Jackson - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Total 236 100 49 15 11 9 13 22 37/88 10/38 16/17 9 40 186 +65
Starters MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB FPTS +/-
D. Mitchell 38 25 9 2 4 0 3 6 8/24 2/7 7/7 1 8 39 -6
J. Ingles 40 15 8 4 1 0 2 3 6/13 2/7 1/2 0 8 30 -7
R. Gobert 32 11 10 0 1 3 3 1 5/7 0/0 1/2 4 6 22 -27
R. O'Neale 28 8 5 1 0 0 4 3 3/7 0/3 2/2 0 5 11 -11
J. Crowder 33 5 5 2 1 2 0 2 1/11 1/7 2/2 0 5 17 -9
Starters MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB FPTS +/-
D. Mitchell 38 25 9 2 4 0 3 6 8/24 2/7 7/7 1 8 39 -6
J. Ingles 40 15 8 4 1 0 2 3 6/13 2/7 1/2 0 8 30 -7
R. Gobert 32 11 10 0 1 3 3 1 5/7 0/0 1/2 4 6 22 -27
R. O'Neale 28 8 5 1 0 0 4 3 3/7 0/3 2/2 0 5 11 -11
J. Crowder 33 5 5 2 1 2 0 2 1/11 1/7 2/2 0 5 17 -9
Bench MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB FPTS +/-
R. Neto 17 9 2 2 0 0 2 1 3/10 2/3 1/1 1 1 13 +3
D. Exum 10 9 0 1 0 0 0 3 4/6 0/1 1/2 0 0 11 -9
D. Favors 15 5 1 1 1 0 1 1 2/2 0/0 1/2 1 0 8 +14
J. Jerebko 14 0 1 2 0 0 0 1 0/1 0/1 0/0 0 1 5 -4
A. Burks 9 0 4 1 0 0 1 0 0/2 0/0 0/0 1 3 5 -9
T. Sefolosha - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
R. Rubio - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
E. Udoh - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
G. Niang - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
E. McCree - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
D. Stockton - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
T. Bradley - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Total 236 87 45 16 8 5 16 21 32/83 7/29 16/20 8 37 161 -65