HOUSTON (AP) – James Harden scored 47 points to help the Houston Rockets hold off the Utah Jazz 102-97 on Monday night for their fourth straight win.
It was Houston’s first victory over the Jazz this season after dropping the first two meetings. The team’s current winning streak comes following a three-game skid.
Houston led by double digits early in the fourth quarter, but poor shooting left the Rockets tied with about two minutes left. A 3-pointer by Harden put Houston back on top and he added two free throws with about a minute remaining to make it 99-94.
Donovan Mitchell was fouled by Eric Gordon on a 3-pointer and made all three free throws to cut the lead to two with 35 seconds left.
Then, under heavy pressure from Ricky Rubio, Harden stepped back and hit a 3 to make it 102-97 with 13.3 seconds left, securing the victory.
Mitchell had 23 points for the Jazz, who have lost four of five.
Harden, who made 15 of 16 free throws, had six rebounds, five assists and five steals.
The Rockets had a 10-point lead after three periods and Harden put them up by 11 on a 3-pointer with about nine minutes left in the fourth. Mitchell had a nifty spinning layup before the Rockets missed five shots over their next two possessions and Danuel House turned it over the next time down.
Mitchell’s layup started a 9-0 run for the Jazz, capped by a 3 from Rubio, that got them to 90-88 with about 5 1/2 minutes left.
Harden scored Houston’s first points in more than 3 1/2 minutes after that, and things between him and Rudy Gobert got a little testy after that. Gobert fouled Harden as he dribbled down the court and Harden approached Gobert after the call. There was some minor pushing between the two before Harden walked away.
The Rockets led by 13 at halftime but Utah opened the third quarter with a 12-2 run to get to 52-49 with about 8 1/2 minutes left in the period. Mitchell made a 3-pointer in that span and Jae Crowder added two, including one he was fouled on that led to a four-point play.
Utah used a 7-0 spurt later in the quarter to take a 58-57 lead. But Harden took over after that, scoring all of Houston’s points in a 9-2 run that gave the Rockets a six-point lead with about 5 1/2 minutes left in the quarter. Harden converted three-point plays on consecutive possessions before hitting a 3 after a turnover by Crowder.
Houston was up by four about a minute later when Harden sailed over the 7-foot-1 Gobert for a one-handed dunk before a 3-pointer by P.J. Tucker made it 73-64. Utah coach Quin Snyder was handed a technical after that for yelling at the officials, and Harden made the free throw.
Houston led by eight late in the third quarter when Chris Paul scored the next five points, capped by a 3, to make it 83-70.
The Jazz got a free throw from Derrick Favors and a basket by Royce O’Neale after that to cut the lead to 10 entering the fourth.
Jazz: Gobert had 18 points and 13 rebounds. … The Jazz had 23 turnovers. … Crowder finished with 14 points.
Rockets: Waived F/C Zhou Qi. … James Ennis missed his third straight game with a strained right hamstring and coach Mike D’Antoni said Ennis could be out as long as two weeks. … Brandon Knight had three points and a rebound in his third game back after missing last season while recovering from knee surgery. … Paul had 11 points and nine assists.
Jazz: Host Golden State on Wednesday night.
Rockets: Host Washington on Wednesday night.
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