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The Roundup—Jazz drop Game 2, look to rebound Saturday in SLC
After falling behind by 26 in the first half, the Utah Jazz showed some fight in the final two quarters—though it wasn't enough to prevent a 118-98 loss as the Rockets took a 2-0 series lead Wednesday night in Houston.
The Jazz will be looking for answers as the best-of-seven series heads to Salt Lake City for Game 3 on Saturday night.
"The Rockets are playing at an unbelievably high level," Jazz head coach Quin Snyder said. "They're going to make plays. The adjustment to that is to just keep competing. That's the mindset that we have to have."
Ricky Rubio finished with 17 points, nine assists and four steals, while Royce O'Neale added 17 points and four rebounds off the bench for the Jazz. Derrick Favors (14 points), Donovan Mitchell (11 points, six assists) and Rudy Gobert (11 points, 12 rebounds, two steals) also scored in double figures in the loss.
Utah shot 39.8 percent from the field—and 45.7 percent in the second half—while Houston shot 47.5 percent.
"Hopefully we can hit more shots at home," Snyder added. "Our group has always been a group that's responded, and that's what we have to do. We played poorly, and we have to be better. That will be the focus."
Houston's James Harden finished with 32 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists for his third career playoff triple-double, and he shot 6-for-13 from three and committed eight turnovers.
Chris Paul scored 17 points, while Eric Gordon and P.J. Tucker added 16 points each in the win for the Rockets.
Favors was Utah's steadiest player, finishing with 14 points, 12 rebounds, one steal and three blocks in 22 minutes. Favors shot 7-for-10 from the field, and five of his rebounds came on the offensive glass.
ricky steal— Utah Jazz (@utahjazz) April 18, 2019
joe in transition pic.twitter.com/qLxt5BTjsy
b i g m e a lpic.twitter.com/TZbAPzYQT1— Utah Jazz (@utahjazz) April 18, 2019
Utah once again struggled mightily from long distance, shooting only 8-for-38 (21.1 percent) on 3-pointers. The Rockets shot 17-for-42 from beyond the arc, giving them a 51-24 advantage in long-distance points. The Jazz shot 7-for-27 from three in Game 1.
While Houston owned the perimeter, the Jazz fared well around the hoop, outscoring the Rockets 58-38 in the paint.
Coach's Quote of the Night
"We have to get ourselves going as a group, collectively. We did that in spurts during the game, but that's obviously not enough. Sometimes you go through things in order come out the other side and be better. Things like this, opportunities that you face, that's the adversity of the playoffs. That's what the playoffs are about—being mentally tough and being determined."
Jazz head coach Quin Snyder
Danté Exum (knee) remained out for the Jazz. ... Grayson Allen scored nine points in 10 minutes off the bench in the loss. ... Houston shot 25-for-30 (83.3 percent) from the free-throw line. Utah shot 12-for-18 (66.7 percent). ... Houston's Clint Capela finished with seven points, 10 rebounds and three blocks. ... The Jazz owned a 27-17 advantage in assists. ... Utah scored 27 points off of Houston's 18 turnovers. ... Joe Ingles finished with seven points, two assists and five steals.
The Jazz will return home for Game 3 against the Rockets on Saturday night. Tipoff is set for 8:30pm MT, and the game will be broadcast on both ESPN and AT&T SportsNet.