The Roundup—Jazz fall again in Game 4, head to Houston down 3-1
After another double-digit loss as home, the Jazz will head to Houston facing a 3-1 series deficit.
Unlike Friday, though—when they trailed by 30 at halftime—the Jazz played tough throughout, cutting Houston's lead to five midway through the fourth quarter before falling 100-87 Sunday night at Vivint Smart Home Arena.
Donovan Mitchell led the Jazz with 25 points, while Joe Ingles added 15 points, eight rebounds and four assists.
Rudy Gobert (11 points, nine rebounds, three blocks) was the only other Utah player to score in double figures.
Jae Crowder started in place of Derrick Favors (ankle) and misfired repeatedly, scoring five points on 1-for-11 shooting.
The Jazz played once again without starting point guard Ricky Rubio (hamstring), who missed his fourth straight game.
Chris Paul was on fire for the Rockets, finishing with a game-high 27 points (on 12-for-23 shooting) along with 12 rebounds and six assists. Clint Capela had 12 points, 15 rebounds and six blocks, while James Harden added 24 points in the win.
After scoring only 10 points on 4-for-16 shooting in Game 3, Mitchell bounced back in a big way on Sunday. The rookie finished with 25 points and was the main reason the Jazz were able to stay within striking distance throughout the game. He scored eight straight Utah points late in the second quarter and then added eight more in the fourth quarter as the Jazz cut Houston's 18-point lead down to five. Mitchell also had nine rebounds, two assists and four steals before fouling out in the final minute. He's now averaging 24.4 points through 10 playoff games.
Utah was far stingier on defense to open Game 4, with Gobert blocking Houston's first two shots and the team holding the Rockets to just 4-for-14 shooting out of the gates. The Jazz, though, got off to an equally slow start on offense, missing their first four shots and committing two turnovers as Houston jumped out to an 11-3 lead. Mitchell found Gobert for an alley-oop jam for Utah's first basket of the game. Danté Exum added two driving layups and Ingles canned a three to keep it close midway through the first quarter.
After the Jazz cut Houston's lead to 19-17 (behind three more layups by Exum), the Rockets went on an 18-9 run and led by double figures for much of the second quarter. A 9-3 Utah run, though, cut the lead to nine with just over four minutes left in the first half. Mitchell drove in for a layup and canned a corner three, while O'Neale put in two layups to force a Houston timeout and re-energize the crowd. The Jazz cut Houston's lead to five late in the second quarter thanks to a vicious slam by O'Neale (right on top of Capela), two straight three-point plays by Mitchell, and another layup by Mitchell.
Long version: He scored the basketball for two points, in addition to earning a foul shot after the fact.— Utah Jazz (@utahjazz) May 7, 2018
Short version: AND1!!!!!!!pic.twitter.com/aL0EBAu08P
The Rockets pushed their lead to as many as 19 before Utah went on a 13-3 run to pull back within nine. Favors and Ingles threw down back-to-back dunks (with one being significantly more forceful than the other), while Raul Neto scored five points and Mitchell hit nothing but net on a 30-foot three.
Utah closed the gap to five midway through the fourth quarter—after a layup by Mitchell and putback dunk by Gobert—but a corner three by Trevor Ariza (after O'Neale didn't pass it to Ingles, who was wide open in the corner, on Utah's previous possession) gave Houston a 10-point lead with 3:41 left. The Jazz weren't able to muster another run after that.
*loud noises*pic.twitter.com/UT3Ko9Tsic— Utah Jazz (@utahjazz) May 7, 2018
The Jazz got outhustled on the boards as Houston held a 49-45 rebounding advantage. Nine of those came on the offensive glass, which led to 14 second-chance points for the Rockets.
Utah didn't shoot the ball well (38.6 percent from the field), and they were cold from both inside (22 misses at the rim) and outside (7-for-29 on 3-pointers). Neto (2-for-3), Mitchell (2-for-7) and Ingles (2-for-7) were the only Jazz players to make multiple threes.
The Jazz continued to cough the ball up more than their opponent, finishing with 17 turnovers (to Houston's 13). The Rockets scored 17 points off of those miscues. Utah has the highest turnover percentage (15.9) of any team this postseason. Houston (9.8) has the lowest.
Coach's Quote of the Night
"That game could have easily been a blowout. Obviously 13 points is not a close game, but the fact that our team was able to cut it the way they did says a lot about who they are. There's no moral victories, but we gave ourselves a chance to be in the game and didn't make enough plays to come out on top."
Jazz head coach Quin Snyder
After scoring nine points in nine minutes during the first half, Exum injured his hamstring midway through the third quarter and limped straight to the locker room. He did not return to the game. ... Houston's P.J. Tucker earned a Flagrant 1 foul for raking Ingles across the face in the second quarter. ... Capela and Mitchell were given double technical fouls after fighting for a rebound. Rockets head coach Mike D'Antoni was assessed a technical foul on the same play. ... The Jazz never led. ... Utah shot 16-for-20 (80.0 percent) from the free-throw line. ... Four of Utah's five blocks came within the first five minutes of the game.
The Jazz will travel to Houston for Game 5 on Tuesday. Tipoff is set for 6:00pm MT and the game will be broadcast nationally on TNT.