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Rockets bury Jazz with 45-point victory

The SportsXchange

SALT LAKE CITY -- Somebody forgot to tell the Houston Rockets that the Utah Jazz are one of the best home teams in the NBA.

James Harden scored 25 points, Omer Asik grabbed 19 rebounds and the visiting Rockets annihilated the Jazz 125-80 on Monday night at EnergySolutions Arena.

The 45-point loss was the worst home defeat in Jazz franchise history and the fifth-largest loss margin in 39 seasons. Only a late Kevin Murphy 3-pointer prevented it from being the Jazz's worst-ever Utah-era loss since moving from New Orleans in 1979.

"It was like everything went wrong," Jazz center Al Jefferson said. "Everything went wrong."

For Utah, at least.

About everything went perfectly right for the Rockets.

Houston took a 57-39 lead into halftime, and the Rockets were only getting warmed up. After holding the Jazz to 17 points in the second quarter, the visitors outscored the hospitable hosts 36-20 in the third quarter and 32-21 in the fourth quarter.

Houston shot 52.8 percent from the field for the game, including a sizzling 16 of 34 from 3-point range. The fast-paced Rockets also outscored the Jazz 26-2 in fast-break points.

"Yeah, we played really well," said Houston coach Kevin McHale, whose team lost in Utah 102-91 on Nov. 19. "It was one of those night where a lot of stuff went our way. We played the right way, though. We moved the ball."

Harden scored 18 points and Carlos Delfino poured in all 14 of his points in the first half as the Rockets used a 19-4 run in the second quarter to blow open the game early.

Marcus Morris added 16 points off the bench and six Rockets scored 12 or more points as Houston improved to 25-22 with their third victory in a row.

"It was just fun because everyone was getting involved," Rockets forward Chandler Parsons said. "And it was right from the tip. We wanted to emphasize transition defense and taking care of the ball. We did those two things beautifully tonight and played unselfish."

The Jazz's first five, meanwhile, struggled mightily, combining to shoot just 17 of 47 from the field for a meager 39 points.

Starting shooting guard Randy Foye led all Utah scorers with 12 points on 5-of-13 shooting and Al Jefferson added 10 on 5-of-14 shooting. Meanwhile, starters Marvin Williams, Paul Millsap and Jamaal Tinsley combined to score just 17 points.

Utah fell to 24-21 overall after just its fifth loss in 20 home games this season.

Jazz fans went from booing to mock cheers when James Anderson hit the Rockets' final 3-pointer to put Houston ahead 125-75 with 27.6 seconds left.

"If I was them, I would've booed us too. It's not weird," Jefferson said. "That's what we love about our fans. They're with us. They're going to tell us the truth. We should've been booing ourselves."

Utah, which has lost two of three after a four-game winning streak, shot just 39.5 percent from the field overall.

Parsons, Patrick Patterson and Jeremy Lin each scored a dozen points for Houston.

Utah's previous biggest deficit this season was 32 points. Its lowest-scoring game before Monday was an 83-76 win at Washington in November.

Hayward is listed as day to day for the Jazz, who are also missing usual starting point guard Mo Williams (thumb surgery).

"It was hard to watch," said Hayward, who added that his shoulder is starting to feel better. "It was unfortunate that we came out and played the way we did today, but I think we'll learn from this one, put it behind us and move on."

Derrick Favors scored 11 points off the bench for the Jazz, who had won their previous six home games.

"Whether you lose by one or by 45 like we did tonight, it's one loss. That's the main thing," Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said. "This team has shown a lot of grit and character all year long and we'll respond."

NOTES: Lin arrived in Salt Lake City on Sunday night just in time to catch the end of "Linsanity," a Sundance Film Festival documentary about his life. A snowstorm diverted his team's flight to Grand Junction, Colo., preventing him from seeing the whole film. "My agent suggested that I invite everyone in the organization, and I was like that would be pretty awkward," Lin said. "I was thankful because some of my teammates and some of the staff members were kind of excited to go see it." It took time for him to be convinced to allow a documentary to be made about him, but Lin ended up enjoying the project. "I didn't really have to act," he said. "If I had to act, I wouldn't have done it. I just had to do what I do every day." ... Lin on the surreal year he has had since breaking out against the Nets on Feb. 5, 2012: "This is definitely just adding on to it. It's just crazy to think that that New Jersey Nets (game) was less than a year ago." ... Lin met Utah resident Wat Misaka before Monday's game. Misaka, a University of Utah standout in the 1940s, was the first player of Asian descent and first non-Caucasian athlete to play in the NBA. He played three games with the New York Knicks during the 1947-48 season. ... Williams said he will have a pin taken out of his surgically repaired right thumb during the All-Star break. He'll be re-evaluated then and hopes to return soon after that.
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