Utah Jazz v Houston Rockets
HOUSTON, TX - FEBRUARY 9: The Utah Jazz celebrate following their victory over the Houston Rockets on February 9, 2020 at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas.
Bill Baptist/NBAE via Getty Images

The Roundup—Bojan Bogdanović’s buzzer-beater sinks the Rockets in Houston

by Aaron Falk

It wasn’t supposed to be Bojan Bogdanović’s night.

For the first time all season, the Utah Jazz forward went scoreless in the first half on Sunday night in Houston. He was 1-for-6 from the field as he watched the game’s some of the game’s final possessions from the bench.

But with 1.6 seconds on the clock and the Jazz down 2, head coach Quin Snyder called Bogdanović’s number.

And Bogey delivered.

Bogdanović curled around a screen, caught the inbound pass and fired up a deep 3 over two defenders for his second-game winning bucket of the season, giving the Jazz a 114-113 victory over the Houston Rockets.

“I wasn’t supposed to be on the court, the way I was playing,” Bogdanović said. “The coaching staff, they believed in me. They gave me an opportunity to shoot a game-winning shot and I stayed confident.”

The win improved the Jazz’s record to 34-18. Utah has now split its two meetings with the Rockets, 1-1.

The Jazz hung tough with Houston thanks to a massive performance off the bench from Jordan Clarkson. The guard finished with a team-high 30 points. Donovan Mitchell had 24 points and six assists. Point guard Mike Conley had 20 points in the win.

Houston was led by 39 points from Russell Westbrook and 28 from James Harden.

Sunday’s Best: Jordan Clarkson

The shooting guard was sensational on Sunday night. Clarkson gave the Jazz 30 points off the bench (12-of-19 shooting) to go with six rebounds and two assists. Clarkson’s night helped the Jazz reserves outscore Houston’s 47-13.

Key Stretches

The Jazz were up 12-7 midway through the first quarter. But a pair of turnovers (a Donovan Mitchell travel and an errant pass) led to back-to-back 3-pointers in a 12-0 run for the Rockets that made the score 19-12 in Houston’s favor.

The Jazz bench provided some punch early in the second quarter. Jordan Clarkson and Georges Niang each hit a 3-pointer as part of an 8-0 run to shrink Houston’s advantage to 38-35.

In a back-and-forth third quarter, the Jazz limited the Rockets to just 1-for-9 shooting from 3. Clarkson and Mike Conley each scored nine points in the period, as the Jazz trimmed Houston’s advantage down to 2 points.

The Rockets went up 100-98 on a PJ Tucker triple midway through the fourth quarter. That’s when the Jazz answered with a 9-0 run, sparked by a pair of Mitchell buckets, to recapture the lead.

After PJ Tucker put the Rockets up 2 with 1.6 seconds left, Bogdanovic called game.

Significant Stats

15

The Rockets are the No. 1 3-point shooting team in the NBA, and the Jazz matched them shot for shot. Both teams finished with 15 makes from beyond the arc.

6

James Harden is a master at creating contact and getting to the free throw line. The former MVP averaged 12 free-throw attempts per game. But the Jazz were able to keep Harden off the line Sunday, limiting him to just six attempts.

+14

The Rockets’ small-ball lineup can cause defenses all sorts of problems. But the Jazz managed to use their size to their advantage, outscoring Houston 16-2 on second-chance points.

Notable

The Houston Rockets made one of the NBA’s biggest trade-deadline moves this season, committing to a small-ball lineup in a way few teams have before them. The Rockets acquired wing Robert Covington as part of a deal for big man Clint Capela. In doing so, Houston doubled-down on its five-out, 3-point shooting attack.

“I haven’t seen a team really commit to that route like Houston has this season,” Jazz point guard Mike Conley said. “It really is a matchup issue for most teams. Not a lot of teams do that. Maybe it’s the first of many. We’ll see. This league follows trends. But every team has to figure out how to combat that.”

James Harden and the Rockets had attempted a league-high 43.9 3-point shots per game coming into Sunday’s matchup with the Jazz.

“They’re a unique team and now they’re more unique,” Jazz head coach Quin Snyder said. “Sometimes we look at things traditionally and the people who see beyond that, there can be an advantage there.” 

INJURY REPORT: Rockets guard Eric Gordon, who scored 50 against Utah in the teams’ first meeting of the season, missed the game with a left lower leg contusion. Jazz center Ed Davis missed a second straight game with back spasms.

Up Next

The Jazz stay on the road to face the Dallas Mavericks on Monday night. Tipoff is set for 6:30pm MT.

Utah's next home game is on Wednesday night against the Miami Heat at 7:00pm MT.

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