Jazz Fail To Take Advantage Of Harden’s Off Night In Loss

Apr 20, 2019, 11:57 PM
James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets looks to get past Ricky Rubio #3 of the Utah Jazz in the se...
James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets looks to get past Ricky Rubio #3 of the Utah Jazz in the second half of Game Three during the first round of the 2019 NBA Western Conference Playoffs at Vivint Smart Home Arena on April 20, 2019 in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr./Getty Images)
(Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr./Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Heading into Game 3 of the playoff series between the Utah Jazz and the Houston Rockets, the question was how was Utah going to stop or slow down James Harden?

Harden, the NBA’s leading scorer in the regular season, had lit up the Jazz in Games 1 and 2, scoring 29 points in the first game and 32 in the second.

Game 3, however, was a completely different story as the Jazz held Harden to just three made baskets on 20 attempts. With 14 points at the foul line, he finished with 20 points.

All game long, Harden was visibly frustrated as he also racked up five fouls in the game, two of which were called in the first minute and a half of the opening quarter.

It was worst shooting game of Harden’s career in either the regular season or playoffs. He was 0-for-15 in the game until he found an open lane and scored on a slam dunk with 7:32 remaining in the game.

Still, the Jazz were unable to take advantage of Harden’s off night as they dropped a 104-101 decision to fall to a 0-3 deficit in the series.

In a game that went down to the wire, Houston was able to get major contributions from its role players. PJ Tucker’s clutch offensive rebound with 10 seconds remaining was the pinnacle of such hustle. Harden also finally made key shots when it mattered most. He ended up making three of his last five shots, including two 3-pointers to bury Utah’s chances down the stretch.

After the game, Jazz head coach Quin Snyder lamented his team’s inability to grab a win in game that featured a rare poor performance from Harden.

“I thought we were better defensive obviously, typically defensively. We didn’t capitalize as much as we needed to, whether it be from the foul line during the stretch there in the third quarter where we gave up a little bit of a lead,” said Snyder after the game.

At halftime, the Jazz led 55-50 while holding Harden to just six points on 0-for-10 shooting. In the third quarter, the Jazz struggled especially as Snyder said, from the foul line where they made just 9-of-17 attempts. Harden still went without a made basket in that quarter, but it was that key stretch of ineffectiveness where Utah failed to convert that was the turning point in the game.

Game 4 between Utah and Houston will tip off Monday at 8:30 p.m. and be broadcast on TNT.

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