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The Roundup—Crowder, Mitchell lead Jazz past Rockets in Game 4

by Matt Payne

Bring on Game 5.

The Utah Jazz let a halftime lead slip away for the second straight game, only this time they turned things around in the fourth quarter, catching fire late and running away for a 107-91 win over the Houston Rockets Monday night in front of a raucous home crowd.

Houston shot a blistering 8-for-12 from three in the third quarter, but the Jazz closed with a 31-12 advantage in the final period to seal their first win of this best-of-seven series.

"I felt pretty good going into the fourth," Jazz forward Jae Crowder said. "They threw their haymaker and tried to knock us out, but we stood tall and took their punches and came out ready to play."

Donovan Mitchell shook off a slow start to score 25 of his team-high 31 points in the second half—including 13 in the first three minutes of the fourth quarter as the Jazz turned a three-point deficit into an 11-point lead.

"We didn't want to go home," Mitchell said. "It's not like we have another game to pick it up."

Crowder finished with 23 points, while Ricky Rubio (18 points, 11 assists), Derrick Favors (12 points, 11 rebounds) and Royce O'Neale (11 points, 11 rebounds) each double-doubled in the victory.

Both Rudy Gobert (four points, nine rebounds and three blocks in 24 minutes) and Joe Ingles (three points, five rebounds and four assists in 23 minutes) saw reduced playing time as Favors and O'Neale thrived against Houston's small-ball lineup.

"That's the definition of a team—to put the group in front of yourself," Jazz head coach Quin Snyder said. "We have a lot of guys who are willing to do that. Some did it tonight. Some will have to do it next game."

James Harden led the Rockets with 30 points, while Chris Paul stuffed the stat sheet with 23 points, eight rebounds, seven assists, five steals and two blocks. Eric Gordon added 16 points and shot 5-for-10 from beyond the arc in the loss.

The Rockets shot 17-for-33 from 3-point range in the first three quarters, but they missed all 13 long-distance attempts in the final period.

Monday's Best

Starting for the second straight game, Crowder put his team on his back early on and gave them the lead they needed to withstand Houston's third-quarter rally. Crowder scored 11 of Utah's first 13 points, and he finished with 23 points on 8-for-13 shooting. He added four rebounds, one assists and two steals while shooting 3-for-8 from 3-point range in 33 minutes.

Mitchell, meanwhile, picked things up in the final period to seal the victory. The second-year guard shot 6-for-12 for 19 fourth-quarter points, and he finished with 31 points, seven rebounds, four assists and a steal in 40 minutes. Going back to his rookie season, Mitchell is now averaging 27.6 points over seven home playoff games.

Key Stretches

Houston hit a three to start the game before Crowder scored nine straight Jazz points. After a bucket by Mitchell, Crowder hit another three. A step-back three by Ingles and a banked-in three by Rubio gave the Jazz a 20-15 midway through the first quarter. A 10-1 run—thanks to eight points by Rubio and two free throws by Crowder—put Utah up by 14 with 3:03 left in the period.

After cutting the deficit to six at halftime, the Rockets started the third quarter on a 10-2 run to take a two-point lead—and the teams went back and forth for the rest of the period. After missing their previous 10 threes, the Jazz caught fire with O'Neale burying two corner threes and Crowder making another. Houston, though, shot 8-for-12 from beyond in the arc in the third quarter alone to take a three-point lead into the fourth.

Led by Mitchell, the Jazz reeled off a 15-1 run to start the fourth quarter, taking a 91-80 lead with 9:02 left in the game. Mitchell hit a three, pulled up for a slick mid-range jumper, and then rattled in two more threes to force a Houston timeout.

With under five minutes remaining and Utah protecting an 11-point lead, Favors crashed the offensive glass and sealed the game for the Jazz. Favors had a hand in six offensive rebounds in a three-possession span, and he capped off those possessions with two dunks and a layup. Thanks to Favors, Utah was able to drain one minute and 46 seconds off the clock with those three lengthy possessions.

Significant Stats

16

The Jazz owned the post, outrebounding the Rockets 52-35 (including 16 offensive rebounds) and outscoring them in the paint (52-22) and in second-chance points (17-3).

+23

Led by Favors (12 points on 4-for-7 shooting) and O'Neale (11 points, two 3-pointers), Utah's bench outscored their Houston counterparts 28-5. The Rockets' reserves shot only 2-for-16 (12.5 percent) from the field and 1-for-10 from three.

84.6

While they continued to struggle from three (11-for-35), the Jazz were able to solve their free-throw issues. After shooting 25-for-38 (65.8 percent) during Saturday's three-point loss, Utah shot 22-for-26 (84.6 percent) on Monday night.

Coach's Quote of the Night

"Guys stepped up to make plays on both ends of the floor. Obviously, Donovan had a stretch where he got it going and gave us a little cushion. I thought Derrick's offensive rebounding late in the game was crucial, as was Royce's ability to defend without fouling."

Jazz head coach Quin Snyder

Notable

The Rockets had been 13-0 when leading after three quarters of play during the playoffs under head coach Mike D'Antoni, including 5-0 vs. the Jazz. ... Utah finished with 24 assists. Houston had 14. ... The Rockets shot only 35.4 percent from the field. ... Danté Exum (knee) remained out for the Jazz. ... Kyle Korver (knee) played only two minutes and did not attempt a shot. ... Utah scored 21 points off of 16 Houston turnovers.

Up Next

The Jazz will head back to Houston for Game 5 on Wednesday night. Tipoff is set for 6pm MT, and the game will be broadcast on both TNT and AT&T SportsNet.

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