Rockets still rolling, rout Jazz in Game 1

By: AP April 30,2018 - 07:00 AM

 

HOUSTON — James Harden scored 41 points and the Houston Rockets raced out to a huge lead and sailed to a 110-96 win over the Utah Jazz in Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals on Sunday (Monday morning Philippine time).

Houston was up by 25 at halftime behind 34 points combined from Harden and Chris Paul.

The Jazz, who didn’t wrap up their first-round series with Oklahoma City until late Friday (Saturday morning Philippine time) night, looked sluggish and struggled to keep pace with the energy of the top-seeded Rockets, who haven’t played since eliminating Minnesota on Wednesday (Thursday morning Philippine time).

It was Houston’s fourth straight win by 10 or more points this postseason, and the Rockets have won their five games against the Jazz by an average of 16.8 points.

Harden, who also had seven assists and eight rebounds, picked up where he left off in the regular season against the Jazz when he averaged 34.3 points, led by a 56-point performance in a 137-110 win in November that set a career-high he has since bested.

The Jazz got 21 points each from rookie Donovan Mitchell and Jae Crowder while playing without starting point guard Ricky Rubio, who sat with a strained left hamstring. It was a significant blow after he averaged 14 points, 7.3 rebounds and seven assists in the first round.

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