EditorsNote: rewords lede
James Harden scored 26 points, collected 11 rebounds and dished out five assists to lead the Houston Rockets to their 13th consecutive victory, a 96-85 decision over the Utah Jazz on Monday night.
Luc Mbah a Moute scored 15 of his 17 points in the fourth quarter, and Chris Paul added 15 points, six rebounds and seven assists for the Rockets. Houston swept the season series with Utah 4-0.
Rudy Gobert led the Jazz with 17 points and added six rebounds. Donovan Mitchell had 16 points and Ricky Rubio added 14. Utah blew a 15-point lead while giving up 22 turnovers.
Houston used an 8-0 run, punctuated by a hook shot from Nene, to take a 14-7 first-quarter lead. Utah answered with a 10-0 run to surge back in front. Jae Crowder slashed to the rim for a layup and buried a 3-pointer to finish off the run and put the Jazz ahead 19-16.
Utah claimed its first double-digit lead when Crowder buried another 3-pointer and Alec Burks drilled back-to-back baskets to put the Jazz up 29-19 early in the second quarter. The Jazz led by as many as 15 points before halftime, going up 44-29 on a dunk from Mitchell.
The Rockets climbed back into game before halftime behind a 10-0 run to close the second quarter. Utah did not score a point over the final 4 1/2 minutes of the half. Paul finished off the run with a pair of free throws to cut the Jazz’s lead to 44-39 at the break.
Houston finally overtook Utah in the third quarter when back-to-back baskets from Trevor Ariza gave the Rockets a 59-57 lead. The Jazz endured another offensive dry spell, going the final 4:09 of the quarter without a field goal, opening the door for Houston to pull away.
The Rockets put together a 16-4 run extending into the fourth quarter, culminating in a basket from Mbah a Moute, and took a 77-65 lead with 9:18 left.
Mbah a Moute kept Utah from gaining ground late in the game. He scored six baskets in the quarter, capped by a three-point play with 1:23 remaining that gave Houston a 94-82 lead.
—Field Level Media