UTAH JAZZ

Jazz Trail Series 3-0 After Poor Second Half Performance

Apr 21, 2019, 12:21 AM | Updated: 7:56 am
Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell (45) has his shot blocked by Houston Rockets center Clint Capela (...
Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell (45) has his shot blocked by Houston Rockets center Clint Capela (15) during NBA playoffs in Salt Lake City on Saturday, April 20, 2019. The Jazz lost 104-101. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)
(Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – In a must-win game, the Utah Jazz had a strong first half followed by a second half where they missed some costly shots and lost to the Houston Rockets 104-101 in Game 3.

Donovan Mitchell led the Jazz with 34 points and 6 rebounds. Derrick Favors added 13 points off the bench.

After missing his first 15 shots, James Harden scored 22 points on 3-for-20 shooting, including 2-of-13 from downtown to go with his 10 assists and 6 steals.

Utah Brings Energy Early

The Jazz got off to a great start with two great plays in a row within the first 90 seconds of the game. James Harden picked up two fouls with the second one coming off of fouling Donovan Mitchell on a three-pointer that he made.

The first big play was an alley-oop from Jae Crowder to Mitchell after stealing the ball from Harden.

That sequence fired up the crowd at VIvint Smart Home Arena as the Jazz took an early 8-0 lead.

Houston buckled down and weathered the storm from the Jazz and tied the game at 20 with 3 minutes left in the first.

Donovan Mitchell fired up the crowd once again with another three-pointer. To that point, Utah hit three triples on 11 attempts, Mitchell made two and Joe Ingles hit the other.

Mitchell finished the opening quarter with 13 points and the Jazz had a 30-28 lead.

Utah kept the aggression in the second quarter but the Rockets kept hanging with the Jazz. Midway through the second, Utah had just a one point lead.

The Jazz ended the first half with a crazy sequence of Harden stealing a cross-court pass, which was immediately snatched by Mitchell who found Ingles on the wing to hit the three-pointer with one second left. Utah took a 55-50 lead into the halftime break.

Mitchell finished with 21 points on 6-of-13 shooting from the field, including 3-of-6 from downtown.

For Houston, Chris Paul led the first half with 12 points and 4 rebounds, Harden had 6 points on 0-for-10 from the field.

Second Half Struggles Cost Jazz Game 3

Midway through the third quarter, the Jazz and Rockets were basically even in scoring with Utah scoring 7 points and the Rockets just 6. Harden was still without a field goal, going 0-for-12 and just six points to that point in the game.

With missed free-throws by the Jazz, the Rockets took a two point lead with 3:20 left in the third quarter.

The Jazz took the lead back with a pick-and-roll with Ricky Rubio and Derrick Favors. Kyle Korver caused an offensive foul on the following defensive possession to give the Jazz a spark.

Late in the quarter, Paul picked up his fifth foul.

At the end of the third period, Utah had a 76-74 lead. Derrick Favors provided the spark in the quarter as he was up to 11 points off the bench. Harden was still without a field goal, going 0-for-14.

Half-way into the fourth quarter, the Jazz trailed by four points when Harden committed a turnover that turned into a three-pointer by Royce O’Neale.

Mitchell went 5-for-7 from the field in the first quarter, but only shot 1-of-12 in the next two and a half quarters before hitting a field goal to cut the Rockets lead to one point with 4:51 left in the game.

Holding a three-point lead, P.J. Tucker missed the back end of his two free-throws and Utah had a chance to tie with 10 seconds left in the game.

Mitchell missed the open three-point shot and the Rockets prevailed.

Up Next

Houston leads the series 3-0. The Jazz will look to avoid elimination with Game 4 on Monday at Vivint Smart Home Arena. The game will begin at 8:30 p.m. on TNT.

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Jazz Trail Series 3-0 After Poor Second Half Performance