Behind James Harden’s 29 points, eight rebounds and 10 assists, the Houston Rockets marched a 1-0 series lead over the Utah Jazz in a 122-90 victory in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs.
The Rockets quickly rose to a 31-24 lead after the first quarter and continued to add to their lead throughout the contest, including a 39-point fourth quarter.
Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni spoke highly of Harden’s performance saying, “He’s so good offensively, it makes me laugh … You’re not stopping him, I don’t care what you do.”
— Houston Rockets (@HoustonRockets) April 15, 2019
The Jazz remained steadily behind as all five of Houston’s starters scored in double-digits with two players notching double-doubles.
Speaking on the win Harden said, “It felt great, everybody contributed. Defensively we were on the same page and that’s what its going to take. If our defensive effort is like that every single night in the series, we give ourselves a really good chance of winning it.”
Eric Gordon added 17 points and Clint Capela added a double-double (16 points, 12 rebounds).
For the Jazz, Rudy Gobert led the team with 22 points, 12 rebounds and one assist. Donovan Mitchell added another 19 points and five rebounds on 7-of-18 shooting.
Utah’s bench had an off night, contributing just 18 points total spread across eight players. Jae Crowder was the only player to contribute more than five points while three players went scoreless.
The Rockets experienced better success from their bench players with Kenneth Faried contributing 11 points and six rebounds and Danuel House Jr. contributing an additional 11 points, two rebounds and one assist.
The Rockets also played stellar defense helping hold the Jazz to 30-of-77 shooting and 7-of-27 from the three-point line. The Jazz were also victims of 18 turnovers.
Speaking on his team’s defensive effort Harden added, “We know [that] if we want to get to where we want to go, we [have to] guard and we’ve been doing that.”
The Rockets and Jazz will pick up play on Wednesday.
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