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Harden, Rockets cruise past Jazz in Game 1

15 April 2019

The desperate 36-footer by Donovan Mitchell sailed over the backboard in a miserable moment that epitomized the Utah Jazz's offensive woes in their 122-90 Game 1 loss to the Houston Rockets on Sunday. Jazz spread in Game 1 on Sunday against a Utah team that came on strong as the NBA Playoffs 2019 approached.

Eric Gordon added 17 points and Clint Capela added a double-double (16 points, 12 rebounds).

It's the second consecutive year the teams have met in the post-season after the Rockets eliminated Utah in five games in the second round last season.

The Rockets also played stellar defense helping hold the Jazz to 30-of-77 shooting and 7-of-27 from the three-point line.

For the Jazz, Rudy Gobert led the team with 22 points, 12 rebounds and one assist. Again, this is the playoffs and not much from the regular season carries over, but one thing the Rockets rarely do is let the first 12 minutes go by without getting a good offensive effort from Harden, who led the National Basketball Association in first quarter scoring at 9.6 points per first quarter - a full point better than any other player.

The Rockets quickly rose to a 31-24 lead after the first quarter and continued to add to their lead throughout the contest, including a 39-point fourth quarter.

The Rockets are putting up 113.9 points per game on offense while shooting 44.9 percent from the field and 35.6 percent from the arc. Still, Houston has won eight of their last 10. The Rockets' aggressive defense had snuffed out every action the Jazz attempted on the possession. The Rockets are 6-0-1 ATS in their last 7 home games, 7-1-1 ATS in their last 9 vs. Take the Rockets to move on to the conference semifinals.

However, Houston learned the hard way last season about taking the Jazz for granted.

Nuggets coach Mike Malone commended Popovich after the game as he hilariously compared their rings. His three-point play at the 4:54 mark of the period extended the lead to 74-61 and, when Harden drilled a stepback 3-pointer with 3:09 left in the third, the Rockets reclaimed their 15-point lead. But the Rockets have been the best team in the second half for good reason. Rubio, who finished with 15 points, didn't play against Houston in the playoffs last season after injuring his hamstring in a first-round series win over the Oklahoma City Thunder. I'll eat the chalk again with the Rockets.

Harden, Rockets cruise past Jazz in Game 1