Jazz Play Much Improved First Quarter Led By Mitchell’s 13 Points

Apr 20, 2019, 9:22 PM
Clint Capela #15 of the Houston Rockets battles Donovan Mitchell #45 of the Utah Jazz for a loose b...
Clint Capela #15 of the Houston Rockets battles Donovan Mitchell #45 of the Utah Jazz for a loose ball in the second half at Toyota Center on October 24, 2018 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
(Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – With their backs against the wall, the Utah Jazz knew it would be important to get off to a good start in Game 3 against the Houston Rockets.

In both games in Houston to start the series, the Rockets had dominated the first quarter, forcing Utah to play from behind for nearly the entire game.

In an effort to slow down the Rockets, who have been the NBA’s best first quarter team, Jazz head coach Quin Snyder made a lineup change, putting Jae Crowder in starting lineup in place of Derrick Favors.

The energy in Vivint SmartHome Arena was palpable to start the game and the energy translated to the court as the Jazz raced out to an early 8-0 lead thanks to a pair of highlight plays by Donovan Mitchell.

James Harden, the best first quarter scorer in basketball, had two fouls in the first 90 seconds of the game. Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni decided not to pull him then, waiting until there were remaining in the quarter.

After Utah’s early surge, The Rockets soon got their act together and quickly narrowed the gap at 11-10 with Utah leading.

Still, the Jazz led by Mitchell kept the Rockets at bay until Houston’s Austin Rivers rolled in a layup to tie the game at 20-all.

The Jazz superstar responded by giving Utah the lead again with a triple his next time down the court.

Thanks to 13 first-quarter points by Mitchell, the Jazz took a 30-28 lead after the opening period. It was the first time in the series that the Jazz led after the first quarter.

Of the Jazz’s 10 made field goals, half were made by Mitchell who shot 5-for-7 with two 3-pointers made.

Harden was held to just five points in the first.

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Jazz Play Much Improved First Quarter Led By Mitchell’s 13 Points