Rockets rout Jazz, seize 2-1 NBA playoff series lead

James Harden scored 25 points with 12 assists in 30 minutes on the court as the Houston Rockets thrashed the Utah Jazz 113-92 to a 2-1 lead in the Western Conference second-round series
AFP

Los Angeles (AFP) – The Houston Rockets thrashed the Utah Jazz 113-92 in Salt Lake City on Friday to regain home court advantage in the NBA playoffs.

Stung by 116-108 game-two defeat on their home floor, the Rockets responded with a vengeance to take a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven Western Conference second-round series.

Rockets star James Harden scored 25 points with 12 assists in 30 minutes on the court.

Eric Gordon added another 25 points in a merciless display by a Rockets team that led the league with 65 regular-season victories.

Royce O’Neale led the Jazz with 17 points as Houston’s stifling defense shut down game-two standouts Donovan Mitchell and Joe Ingles.

Mitchell connected on just four of 16 from the field for 10 points while Ingles, who scored 27 points in game two, finished with six points on two-of-10 shooting.

After a game-two performance that Harden described as “lackadaisical,” Houston came out with laser-like focus.

The Rockets scored on six of their first seven possessions, Harden’s first field goal putting the Rockets up 15-5.

Houston led by as many as 22 in the first quarter and by as many as 38 in the third, harrying Utah into 16 turnovers that the Rockets converted to 19 points.

To make matters worse, the Jazz, already without injured point guard Ricky Rubio, saw Derrick Favors exit with a sprained ankle in the third quarter.

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