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Harden, Harrell lead the Rockets past the Jazz, 93-91

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James Harden turned on the juice after the break, and Montrezl Harrell stepped up with some timely defense to lead the Rockets to a win over the Jazz in Utah.

Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

Yes, that's Harden and Harrell, as in Montrezl.

James Harden scored 22 of his 30 points in the second half and Montrezl Harrell sparked the team with hustle and defense to lead the Houston Rockets to a 93-91 come-from-behind victory over the Utah Jazz that broke a four-game losing streak for the boys in red.

The Rockets initially looked like they were about to hit a new low, as they fell behind by 13 at halftime to a team currently giving significant minutes to Jeff Withey, Raul Neto, Joe Ingles, and Tibor Pleis. Huh?

But after a slow first half, Harden took over and did his thing offensively, scoring off drives, at the line, and from deep to lead the Rockets' comeback. Beard's gonna Beard.

Oh, and for good measure, he also pretended to whip a ball at a Jazz fan who was harassing him at the free throw line with a laser pointer.

Harrell did his thing outside of the box score. He only finished with 2 points, 2 rebounds and 1 assist, but he played virtually the entire second half at power forward over a benched Terrence Jones after the Rockets gave up 37 second-quarter points to a Jazz team playing without Derrick Favors, Rudy Gobert, Alec Burks, and Dante Exum.

Harrell responded with several key hustle plays that sparked a second-half defensive resurgence, including this key contend of a Withey dunk with only 19.9 seconds left on the clock that helped snag victory for the Rockets.

The Rockets had sprung out to an early 28-21 lead after the first quarter, riding some hot shooting from deep to open the game in control, but a total defensive collapse in the second quarter had the Jazz on a 19-2 run to grab a 58-45 lead at the break, and it appeared that the Rockets were cruising for a new season rock bottom.

But after teetering on the brink by only hitting one field goal in the first 5 minutes of the the third qurater, the Rockets closed on a 12-5 run, with all 12 points coming from Harden, to get Houston within 8, at 77-69.

The Rockets used a 12-2 run to open the fourth quarter (24-7 run overall) to scrape and claw all the way back for an 81-79 lead, and though the situation was tenuous at times down the stretch- Harden turned the ball over 4 times on errant bounce passes in a 4-minute stretch late in the fourth- big threes by Harden and Jason Terry, Harrell's big contest, along with a last-second hustle play and ensuing free throw by JET, secured the victory.

In addition to Harden's 30, the Rockets also got 16 points and 13 boards from Dwight Howard, 13 points from Trevor Ariza and 10 from Patrick Beverley.

The Jazz were led by Rodney Hood's 23 points and Gordon Hayward's 20, but the Rockets out-shot the Jazz 48.5 percent to 40 percent to offset the massive Utah 24-4 advantage in second-chance points.

The Rockets move to 17-19 and leapfrog the Jazz by a half game for the 7th-seed in the Western Conference, with the two teams rematching in Houston on Thursday night. Expect to see more Harrell in that game after his inspired effort tonight.

Utah plays at San Antonio on Wednesday in between.

It wasn't pretty, but it's a win. And better yet, it's a win over the Jazz.