James Harden scored 38 points, Russell Westbrook added 34 and the Houston Rockets beat the Utah Jazz on the road for the second time in four weeks, winning 120-110 on Saturday at Vivint Smart Home Arena.
Harden added five rebounds and seven assists to his ledger, and it was his sixth 3-pointer with 2:13 remaining that silenced the Jazz once and for all. Utah had sliced a 16-point deficit to 115-108 before Harden drilled a 27-footer that lifted Houston to its seventh win in nine games.
Third-quarter 3-point run by Rockets
Eric Gordon and Ben McLemore scored 12 points apiece off the bench for the Rockets, who finished 20 of 48 from behind the arc. It was the Rockets' 3-point prowess that undergirded the decisive run down the stretch of the third quarter, with McLemore, Austin Rivers and Gordon all connecting from deep to spark a 17-5 surge after Utah closed to within 83-80 on a three-point play from Mike Conley.
Donovan Mitchell paced the Jazz with 31 points while Jordan Clarkson added 22 off the bench. Utah posted a whopping 64 paint points, but that wasn't enough to offset the Rockets' shooting. The Rockets drained 25 treys at Golden State on Thursday and carried that momentum to Utah, opening 8-for-9 on 3s before Gordon and Westbrook missed to initiate a regression to the mean.
Neck to Neck
Yet, despite the Rockets' scorching start, the Jazz remained close, doing so by converting 9 of 10 free throws while amassing 22 points in the paint in the first period. The Rockets carried a 38-36 lead into the second, combining with the Jazz to shoot 27 of 45 in the opening quarter.
When Houston cooled off in the second period, the Jazz took advantage, opening that frame with a 12-4 run while the Rockets missed 8 of 11 shot attempts by the midpoint of the quarter. Despite those struggles, Houston twice had an opportunity to move ahead inside the final two minutes, but Harden missed three free throws down the stretch, two with the score deadlocked. Mitchell, meanwhile, had a hand in the final 14 points of the period for the Jazz, recording nine points and two assists that included a 3 with 11.8 seconds left for a 66-62 Utah lead at the half.