104
TF 0
FINAL
End
4th
ESPN
Sat Apr. 20
10:30pm
BONUS
101
TF 0
UTA
0-3
ML: +107
UTA -2, O/U 215.5
ML: -128
HOU
UTA

No Text

Rockets beat Jazz 104-101 for 3-0 series lead

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) James Harden never worried. In fact, he didn't know he had missed his first 15 shots.

Through it all, he never changed the attacking style that made him the NBA's leading scorer.

Harden overcame a poor shooting performance and scored 14 of his 22 points in the fourth quarter, leading the Houston Rockets to a 104-101 win Saturday over the Utah Jazz for a commanding 3-0 lead in their first-round playoff series.

''Keep shooting. Keep being aggressive,'' Harden said of his only thoughts. ''My job is to go out there and produce. Be aggressive and in attack mode. Nothing changes.''

Not much has worked against Harden for the Jazz, and even when they thought they had him trapped, they weren't able to control The Beard for a full game.

''You're going to give something up. The best thing you can do with him is just try to make it hard on him. Even when you do that, there's times where he's going to make plays,'' Utah coach Quin Snyder said.

The Jazz didn't take it easy on Harden, and took every opportunity to knock him down, even when it sent him to the line. For one of the rare times this season, Harden passed up some shots. But he did take them - and make them - when they counted most.

Though the victory was hardly a thing of beauty, Houston coach Mike D'Antoni was grateful for the way it went down.

''Sooner or later we have to win games on defense. We did this time,'' D'Antoni said of his team which is known for Harden's lethal 3-point attack but has drastically improved on the defensive end since mid-season.

Harden made a 3-pointer and added two free throws with 42.4 seconds left to give the Rockets a 101-97 lead. After Donovan Mitchell made two free throws, Harden missed another 3-point attempt, but P.J. Tucker, who finished with 12 points and 10 rebounds, grabbed the rebound, was fouled, making one of two free throws.

Chris Paul said: ''You trust (Tucker) to make those plays. ... He's going to do anything and everything to help the team win.''

Mitchell had a wide-open look at a 3-pointer on the ensuing possession, but like so many of his shots in the hard-fought contest, it was off the mark.

Game 4 of the best-of-seven Western Conference series is Monday night in Utah.

''We didn't shoot the ball well and we still won. That just gives us more confidence,'' said Harden, who was 3-for-20 shooting with 10 assists. He was 14 for 16 from the line.

Paul scored 18 points and Clint Capela had 11 points and 14 rebounds for the Rockets, who shot 38.4 percent from the field and 67.6 percent from the line.

Mitchell scored 34 points, but struggled shooting, too, making just 9 of his 27 attempts. Derrick Favors had 13 for the Jazz.

Royce O'Neale, who played tenacious defense on Harden, made a 3-pointer for Utah's last lead at 89-88. In fact, the Jazz led most of the game, but never by more than eight.

The Rockets made their move in the fourth quarter.

Gerald Green made back-to-back 3-pointers and Harden added a pair of free throws with 8:33 remaining put the Rockets up 84-80.

After two slow starts in Houston, the Jazz came out energized with a deafening crowd hanging on every basket. Utah led 11-3 and Harden picked up two fouls in the first 94 seconds, but stayed on the court. He couldn't find his rhythm until the stretch run.

The Rockets have made no secret they are keying on Mitchell and Ingles to take away their playmaking and make other Utah players beat them. So far, no one else has made them pay.

Mitchell vowed to be more aggressive and apologized for being a ''no show'' early in the series. He re-introduced himself to the series in an exuberant show of shot-making and open emotion after big plays. But it didn't last.

''I just started missing shots,'' Mitchell said. ''I can't miss 16 shots (after the first quarter). That's my role and I can't miss makeable shots.''

Prior to Saturday's big game, Mitchell was shooting 32.6% and had more turnovers (nine) than assists (six). After his hot start, Mitchell missed 11 straight field goal attempts but never stopped attacking.

Harden was missing 3-pointers and floaters, including two that were rejected by Rudy Gobert early in the game, and didn't convert one until his emphatic fast-break dunk with 7:34 to play. But then he made a step-back 3-pointer to give Houston its largest lead at 89-83.

The leading MVP candidate did get to the line - something the Jazz have tried desperately to avoid.

Gobert had 10 points, eight rebounds and seven blocked shots.

LET'S GET PHYSICAL

The teams combined for 72 free throws and at least one player hit the hardwood on almost every call.

''It was a lot of emotion, a lot of physicality out there,'' Harden said. ''It was playoff basketball.''

Gobert said the Rockets finally got a taste of the Jazz defense that propelled them to 50 wins this season.

''The way we started the game, we were tough and they felt us. I don't think they felt us the first two games,'' Gobert said.

TIP-INS

Rockets: Rivers and Ingles got double technicals in the second quarter for tossing the ball at each other. ... In the third quarter, Harden was wrapped up by Royce O'Neale on a fast break and landed awkwardly with O'Neale on top of him in the row of cameras beyond the baseline. ... When Harden shot free throws, the crowd often chanted ''Flopper! Flopper!''

Jazz: Gobert had five blocks in the first half. ... Jae Crowder started in place of Favors for the first time in the series. ... Jazz missed six free throws in the first four minutes of the second half. ... Utah was 12 of 41 from beyond the arc.

UP NEXT

Game 4 is Monday night in Utah.

---

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Copyright 2019 by AP. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of AP is strictly prohibited.

Key Players
J. Harden
13 SG
R. Gobert
27 C
32.5 Min. Per Game 32.5
16.5 Pts. Per Game 16.5
1.0 Ast. Per Game 1.0
12.0 Reb. Per Game 12.0
35.7 Field Goal % 70.0
38.1 Three Point % 68.8
87.5 Free Throw % 78.9
+ 1 P.J. Tucker made 2nd of 2 free throws 0:06
+ 1 P.J. Tucker made 1st of 2 free throws 0:06
  Defensive rebound by P.J. Tucker 0:06
  Donovan Mitchell missed 3-pt. jump shot 0:08
  Defensive rebound by Donovan Mitchell 0:10
  P.J. Tucker missed 2nd of 2 free throws 0:10
+ 1 P.J. Tucker made 1st of 2 free throws 0:10
  Personal foul on Donovan Mitchell 0:10
+ 1 Donovan Mitchell made 2nd of 2 free throws 0:33
+ 1 Donovan Mitchell made 1st of 2 free throws 0:33
  Shooting foul on Eric Gordon 0:33
Team Stats
Points 104 101
Field Goals 33-86 (38.4%) 32-77 (41.6%)
3-Pointers 15-45 (33.3%) 12-41 (29.3%)
Free Throws 23-34 (67.6%) 25-38 (65.8%)
Total Rebounds 65 57
Offensive 9 7
Defensive 43 41
Team 13 9
Assists 19 21
Steals 11 9
Blocks 4 11
Turnovers 13 14
Fouls 25 22
Technicals 1 3
22 PTS, 4 REB, 10 AST
34 PTS, 6 REB, 5 AST
1234T
away team logo 4 Rockets 3-0 28222430104
home team logo 5 Jazz 0-3 30252125101
Team Stats
away team logo Rockets 3-0 108.5 PPG 42.9 RPG 18.3 APG
home team logo Jazz 0-3 97.8 PPG 47.2 RPG 23.0 APG
Key Players
J. Harden SG 31.6 PPG 6.8 RPG 6.6 APG 41.3 FG%
D. Mitchell SG 21.4 PPG 5.0 RPG 3.2 APG 32.1 FG%
Top Scorers
J. Harden SG 22 PTS 4 REB 10 AST
D. Mitchell SG 34 PTS 6 REB 5 AST
38.4 FG% 41.6
33.3 3PT FG% 29.3
67.6 FT% 65.8
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB +/- FPTS
J. Harden 22 4 10 3/20 2/13 14/16 5 38 6 1 4 0 4 +4 49
C. Paul 18 4 4 7/15 2/7 2/2 5 32 3 0 2 0 4 -6 31
P. Tucker 12 10 3 3/11 2/6 4/6 3 35 0 0 1 3 7 +3 27
E. Gordon 12 5 1 4/11 3/8 1/1 4 37 0 1 2 2 3 +5 18
C. Capela 11 14 0 5/9 0/0 1/5 1 33 1 2 2 3 11 +3 26
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB +/- FPTS
J. Harden 22 4 10 3/20 2/13 14/16 5 38 6 1 4 0 4 +4 49
C. Paul 18 4 4 7/15 2/7 2/2 5 32 3 0 2 0 4 -6 31
P. Tucker 12 10 3 3/11 2/6 4/6 3 35 0 0 1 3 7 +3 27
E. Gordon 12 5 1 4/11 3/8 1/1 4 37 0 1 2 2 3 +5 18
C. Capela 11 14 0 5/9 0/0 1/5 1 33 1 2 2 3 11 +3 26
Bench PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB +/- FPTS
A. Rivers 11 3 1 4/6 2/3 1/2 2 17 0 0 0 0 3 0 16
G. Green 9 3 0 3/7 3/5 0/0 2 14 0 0 1 0 3 +4 11
D. House Jr. 5 4 0 2/5 1/3 0/2 3 20 1 0 1 0 4 0 9
K. Faried 4 5 0 2/2 0/0 0/0 0 9 0 0 0 1 4 +2 9
I. Shumpert - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
G. Clark - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
V. Edwards - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
I. Hartenstein - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
T. Duval - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
C. Chiozza - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Nene - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Total 104 52 19 33/86 15/45 23/34 25 235 11 4 13 9 43 +15 196
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB +/- FPTS
D. Mitchell 34 6 5 9/27 4/12 12/17 3 41 3 1 3 2 4 0 51
R. Rubio 10 4 6 3/6 0/2 4/6 3 30 2 0 5 0 4 +4 23
R. Gobert 10 8 1 3/4 0/0 4/6 4 32 0 7 1 2 6 +6 26
J. Ingles 8 8 5 3/9 2/8 0/0 5 31 0 0 2 0 8 +11 24
J. Crowder 5 5 2 1/3 1/2 2/3 0 23 2 0 0 0 5 -1 16
Starters PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB +/- FPTS
D. Mitchell 34 6 5 9/27 4/12 12/17 3 41 3 1 3 2 4 0 51
R. Rubio 10 4 6 3/6 0/2 4/6 3 30 2 0 5 0 4 +4 23
R. Gobert 10 8 1 3/4 0/0 4/6 4 32 0 7 1 2 6 +6 26
J. Ingles 8 8 5 3/9 2/8 0/0 5 31 0 0 2 0 8 +11 24
J. Crowder 5 5 2 1/3 1/2 2/3 0 23 2 0 0 0 5 -1 16
Bench PTS REB AST FG 3PT FT PF MIN STL BLK TO OREB DREB +/- FPTS
D. Favors 13 4 0 5/6 0/0 3/6 2 15 0 2 1 2 2 -9 18
G. Niang 8 7 1 3/7 2/6 0/0 1 16 1 0 0 0 7 -5 18
K. Korver 8 3 0 3/6 2/5 0/0 0 15 0 0 1 1 2 -8 10
R. O'Neale 5 2 1 2/8 1/5 0/0 4 28 1 1 1 0 2 -9 10
R. Neto 0 1 0 0/1 0/1 0/0 0 3 0 0 0 0 1 -4 1
T. Sefolosha - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
E. Udoh - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
N. Mitrou-Long - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
T. Cavanaugh - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
D. Exum - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
G. Allen - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
T. Bradley - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Total 101 48 21 32/77 12/41 25/38 22 234 9 11 14 7 41 -15 197