Notebook: Rockets 125, Jazz 80



Posted Jan 29, 2013 1:58 AM

Andrew Aragon, for NBA.com

THE FACTS: Suddenly, the Houston Rockets are red-hot again.

The Rockets continued to bounce back from an earlier slump, blasting the Utah Jazz 125-80 on Monday night. It was Houston's fourth victory in five games since it suffered through a seven-game losing streak.

For the Jazz, it was their worst home defeat in franchise history. It was also the first time Utah lost by more than 40 points since Feb. 4, 2000. The Los Angeles Lakers beat them in that game, 113-67. The Jazz had a six-game home winning streak snapped.

James Harden led Houston with 25 points and Omer Asik tied a career-high with 19 rebounds. Marcus Morris came off the bench to score 16 points, and Carlos Delfino scored all of his 14 points in the first half.

There were few, if any, bright spots for Utah, which was lethargic to start the game and couldn't keep pace with the Rockets. Randy Foye was the Jazz's top scorer with 12 points.

QUOTABLE: "We moved the ball. We shared the ball. We played great defense and ran. Pretty much everything we wanted to do coming into the game, we were able to do so it was a great win for us."

-- Rockets guard Jeremy Lin

THE STAT: Houston played at a different and more advanced speed than Utah. The Rockets racked up 26 fast-break points compared to just two for the Jazz. Houston did most of its damage on the break in the first half, scoring 20 fast-break points after getting stops and easily getting past a Utah team stuck in neutral.

TURNING POINT: The Rockets began running the Jazz out of their own arena early in the second quarter. They went on a 17-4 run, and it started with three straight 3-pointers by Delfino. Houston got one of its baskets when Delfino tracked down a loose ball following a jump ball between 6-foot-3 Lin and 6-foot-10 Al Jefferson, and drove in for layup. Harden capped the run with back-to-baskets, giving the Rockets a 45-28 lead while bringing out the boo-birds from the home crowd for the first of several times.

HOT: Harden played like the All-Star that he is. He started slowly, missing three of his first four shots, but was 7-for-11 the rest of the way. He made Utah's defenders look extremely slow, got to the basket and got whatever shot he wanted. Lin didn't miss a shot, going 5-for-5 while recording 12 points and seven assists. Chandler Parsons had an efficient 12 points on 6-for-8 shooting while contributing three rebounds, three assists and three steals. Patrick Patterson also helped get Houston off to a fast start as he shot 6-for-9 and scored 12 points. Houston tied a season-high with 16 3-pointers. Utah's best player was probably rookie Kevin Murphy, who played the entire fourth quarter and scored a career-high nine points on 4-for-6 shooting.

NOT: Paul Millsap had his least productive game of the season. He missed his first five field-goal attempts, shot 2-for-9 and finished with four points and two rebounds. Jefferson was unproductive, shooting 5-for-14 while scoring 10 points. The Jazz shot just 27.8 percent from 3-point range and scored its lowest point total of the season.

QUOTABLE II: "It's one loss. You've got to understand why you lost the game. How did we play? We didn't have a lot of energy, we didn't execute, we didn't get stops and we didn't get back. Pick your poison. We didn't do anything on the defensive end, we didn't do anything on the offensive end."

-- Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin

GOOD MOVE: Houston coach Kevin McHale said his team is one that has to play with pace and space prior to Monday's game. The Rockets did just that, playing to their strengths against the Jazz. They pushed tempo and got easy fast-break points. They moved the ball side to side and didn't let it get sticky. Defensively, with Lin leading the way, they clogged the paint and dared Utah to beat them with outside shots. The Jazz obviously failed miserably.

BAD MOVE: Utah's offense was a mess in the first half. The Jazz were content to stand around and shoot long, contested jumpers. They did little to challenge Houston's bigs in the paint, and it resulted in shooting just 35.7 percent in the first half and 39.5 percent in the game. Their offense was basically the complete opposite of Houston's -- in both style and production.

NOTABLE: The Jazz were without key reserve Gordon Hayward, who is recovering from a right shoulder sprain suffered against the Indiana Pacers on Saturday night. The fourth quarter of Monday's game resembled an exhibition as only reserves played in the final period. Houston briefly led by 50 after James Anderson hit a 3-pointer with 27.6 seconds left. The Jazz, however, scored the game's final five points to avoid more embarrassment.

UP NEXT: For the Rockets, Wednesday @ Denver, Saturday vs. Charlotte, Feb. 5 vs. Golden State. For the Jazz, Wednesday vs. New Orleans, Friday vs. Portland, Saturday @ Portland.