Score Strip

Rockets 104, Jazz 93

The SportsXchange

SALT LAKE CITY -- Three Houston players scored at least 20 points and the Rockets overcame a 19-point deficit in the first half en route to a runaway 104-93 victory over the Utah Jazz on Saturday night at EnergySolutions Arena.

Chandler Parsons led the Rockets with 24 points, 12 rebounds and six assists, James Harden scored 23 and Jeremy Lin added 20 points. Houston won its third consecutive game to open the season despite a comparatively quiet night by Dwight Howard, who finished with 15 points and eight rebounds.

The Jazz burst out to a 56-37 lead with one minute remaining in the first half on two free throws by newcomer Mike Harris.

Utah was outscored by 30 points over the course of the game to fall to 0-3 for the first time since the 1979-80, the first year the franchise played in Salt Lake City after relocating from New Orleans.

Enes Kanter led five Jazz players in double figures with 16 points and eight rebounds. Gordon Hayward and Alec Burks each scored 15.

The Jazz, however, only managed to put up 37 points in the second half.

Both teams were playing the second night of a back-to-backs. Houston beat Dallas at home Friday, while the Jazz fell in Phoenix.

From the beginning, the Rockets looked nothing like the team that started the season so strongly in home wins over Charlotte and Dallas.

Houston only scored 16 points after missing nine of 14 shots in the first quarter, falling behind by eight. Utah's offense picked up the pace even more in the second quarter, outscoring the Rockets 32-24 and going ahead by as many as 19 points before settling for a 56-40 halftime lead.

Parsons prevented the Rockets from being lapped in the opening half with 20 points on a blistering 7-of-9 shooting before the break. At that point, Howard only had three points after missing four field goals. Uncharacteristically, Houston was also outrebounded 27-12 in the first two quarters.

Houston ended up winning the battle of the boards 40-39.

The late-arriving Rockets were back to their usual selves out of the locker room, overpowering the Jazz with a 33-17 third-quarter advantage to tie the game heading into the fourth quarter.

Howard had 10 points and Harden scored nine in the third quarter.

Francisco Garcia chipped in with three 3-pointers in the Rockets' second-half spurt. He finished with 12 points.

NOTES: The Jazz have two former Rockets -- point guard John Lucas III and forward Mike Harris. Lucas started his NBA career in Houston in 2005, while Harris had three short stints between 2008-11. They were also teammates in China before returning to the NBA. ... It was weird for Harris to become an instant fan favorite in Utah earlier this week after scoring 13 points in the Jazz's home-opener. He said Utah was a "hostile crowd" when with Houston in the playoffs. "I was like, 'Man, I really hate playing in Utah.' To turn around (Wednesday) and be on the opposite side of that with those fans and that atmosphere, it just sets for a tremendous season." ... Both teams have a player from Turkey -- Enes Kanter (Utah) and Omer Asik (Houston). ... Jazz rookie point guard Trey Burke, the 2013 NCAA player of the year, is expected to be re-evaluated on Nov. 11, four weeks after having surgery on his fractured right index finger. ... Utah has five players sidelined with injuries to start the season -- Burke, Marvin Williams (Achilles), Brandon Rush (knee), Jeremy Evans (rotator cuff) and Andris Biedrins (ankle).
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