Houston came out for a nice 7-4 start to begin the game and Rudy Gobert was ejected after arguing a foul call and knocking down beverages on the scorer’s table. Things were looking up for the Rockets after the Jazz’s best defender left the game with no return. And then it just went downhill from there...
The Jazz were fired up after the Gobert ejection and it fueled their motivation for the entirety of the game. The Jazz went on a 23-11 run to end the quarter, take a lead and bring it beyond double digits.
Then, the team was unable to take the foot off the gas. Utah took advantage of Houston’s carelessness and errant shot selection on offense to convert their points into a lead and increase the lead. The Rockets were able to remain in the contest by keeping pace with the Jazz in the second quarter, but after the half, the teams trended in opposite directions.
The Rockets scored just 11 points in the entire third quarter compared to 30 points from the Jazz. The lead was now beyond 30 and out of reach for the Rockets. Therefore, the fourth quarter filed under garbage time as the teams emptied their benches and let the young guys play.
Nobody on the Rockets had a good shooting night. And the inconsistency shooting the ball has spread across the entire team worse than a rash. Chris Paul was the only notably decent scorer, shooting just 5-11 from the floor. The team as a whole shot 38.6 percent and 22.2 from three. James Harden led Rockets scorers with 15.
On the flip side, Utah gained rhythm of the game and never relinquished it. Their stifling defense cancelled any and almost all of Houston’s offense. On their offensive end, Derrick Favors came off the bench to score a team-high 24 on 10-13 shooting.
In the last two games, the team has come out incredibly flat in the second half. On Monday, the team had a double-digit lead in the first half before losing by double-digits to Minnesota. Tonight, they splurged an opportunity to come back by sabotaging themselves and coming out poorly after halftime. It’s a pattern that could soon turn into a bad habit if not corrected soon.
The Rockets will get another shot to try to fix their second half jeers on Saturday night in Dallas. Tipoff is at 5 p.m. CST.