N.B.A. Playoffs: Jazz Steal a Win on the Road Over Rockets
Joe Ingles scored a career-high 27 points and the Utah Jazz squandered a huge early lead before using a big fourth quarter to regain control and beat the Houston Rockets, 116-108, on Wednesday night and tie the Western Conference semifinals at one game apiece.
Ingles made a career-best seven 3-pointers and the rookie Donovan Mitchell added 17 points and 11 assists for his first game this postseason where he scored fewer than 20 points and didn’t lead the team in scoring.
The Jazz were behind by 2 points with eight minutes left before using a 16-2 run to pull away.
“That’s in our DNA, that’s in our character, to withstand the run,” Mitchell said after the game. “Everybody stepped up and played well, I’m so proud of those guys.”
After trailing by 25 points at halftime of the 110-96 loss in the series opener, the Jazz jumped out to an early lead on Wednesday and led by as many as 19 in the first half.
Houston was down by only a single point entering the fourth quarter but Utah scored eight straight points on 3-pointers from Dante Exum and Jae Crowder before Mitchell capped it with a nifty one-handed follow dunk to make the score 100-94.
Mitchell missed a jumper and sailed above three Rockets to grab the rebound and slam it down with one hand.
“My teammates, they keep telling me to shoot the ball,” Mitchell said. “I didn’t shoot the ball well tonight. I had a few turnovers, had a few decisions, but they still believed in me to make plays.”
Harden made a basket after that before Utah scored another eight straight points, with two 3-pointers from Ingles, to make the score 108-96 with four and a half minutes left.
Harden ended a Houston scoring drought with a 3-pointer about a minute later that was the start of a 9-3 run that got the Rockets within 111-105 with 1 minute 46 seconds left. But Rudy Gobert made one of two free throws before Exum put it out of reach with a dunk.
Utah led by 9 before Houston used a 16-5 run to go up, 71-69, for its first lead since early in the game. The Jazz went back up, 86-85, by the end of the period.