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Jazz end losing streak, beat Rockets in home finale

Jazz end losing streak, beat Rockets in home finale

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Sports) – The losing streak is finally over.

The Utah Jazz ended its longest losing skid in 42 years with a 124-121 victory over the Houston Rockets Thursday night in the team’s home finale. Despite an awful season, the Jazz will finish with a winning record at the Delta Center at 21-20.

Luka Samanic scored a season-high 22 points for the Jazz, while Keyonte George chipped in with 20 points. Brice Sensabaugh added 17 points and Talen Horton-Tucker had 16.

This is Utah’s first victory since March 15 when the Jazz beat Atlanta at home.

“That desperation that we played with throughout most of the game, but in particular in the second half, is who we’re aiming to be always,” Jazz coach Will Hardy said.

Fred VanVleet knocked down nine 3-pointers and scored a season-high 42 points for the Rockets, who lost for the sixth time in seven games. VanVleet was 9 for 13 from 3-point range while also tallying seven assists and seven rebounds. Cam Whitmore added 18 points while also making four 3s. Amen Thompson chipped in 15 points, 10 rebounds and two steals.

Jazz put up a fight before dropping 13th straight

Down three at halftime, the Jazz opened the third quarter with four unanswered baskets. VanVleet and Aaron Holiday combined for five 3-pointers to erase the deficit. Holiday’s back-to-back 3s made it 89-84 for Houston.

Utah countered with a 14-3 run late in the third and took a 98-92 lead on Sensabaugh’s second-chance corner 3.

VanVleet tied it on a pair of free throws with 2:30 left but the Jazz pulled away for good. Back-to-back layups from Darius Beazley and George keyed a 6-0 run that put Utah up 124-118 with 54 seconds remaining.

“We played extremely hard,” George said. “Our communication was at an all-time high. We did everything the right way and we got the result we wanted.”

VanVleet and Jeff Green each made back-to-back 3-pointers to key a 14-4 run that gave the Rockets a 38-28 lead going into the second quarter.

Houston shot 62% from the perimeter during the first quarter. VanVleet led the way, knocking down six of those 3s and scoring 20 points. His final outside basket beat the first-quarter buzzer to give the Rockets their first double-digit lead.

Utah erased the deficit in the second quarter behind a 13-0 run. Houston went scoreless for three minutes during that stretch. Horton-Tucker capped Utah’s run with a pair of free throws that put the Jazz up 51-49.

Juzang making the most of his opportunity

The Jazz ended the third longest losing skid in franchise history, behind the 14-game skid in 1979 and the record 18-game streak in 1982.

The Jazz next visit the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday, before ending the season Sunday at the Golden State Warriors.

For the latest news, weather, sports, and streaming video, head to ABC4 Utah.