Posted on December 19, 2017, by Travis Pulver
The Houston Rockets entered Monday night’s game with the Utah Jazz as the hottest team in the NBA riding a 13-game winning streak. The Utah Jazz entered the game having lost five of their last six. They were either ripe for the picking primed for a breakout game. As it turns out, they were primed for a breakout, but not enough of one to win the game.
Houston still lives by the three and nearly died from it after making just nine of 31 attempts from behind the arc in the first three-quarters of the game. But despite their bad luck from three-point range they were only down by one after the first quarter and led by one at halftime. But heading into the final period, it was the Jazz who held the lead, 84-79.
That’s when things got a little crazy.
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Down by eight with 9:49 left to play, the Rockets went on a 15-0 run to take the lead. Houston followed that run up with another one, this time an 11-0 run. That made the score 111-96 with about three minutes remaining.
Finding their stroke from three-point range keyed each run. By the time the quarter ended, Houston had made eight of 12 shots from three-point range.
With Utah trying to focus on Chirs Paul and James Harden, it was Eric Gordon that led the charge. He scored 17 of his 33 points in the final quarter. Most of his work came from behind the arc as he hit five of the team’s eight three-pointers.
”All it takes is one of us to get hot and (Monday) it was EG,” Chris Paul said after the game (CBSSports). ”And that was crazy.”
Gordon called it the hottest quarter he’s ever had.
Head coach Mike D’Antoni was glad the team was able to extend the winning streak to 14 games. But he wouldn’t have minded if his team had not waited until the last quarter to get rolling.
”We’re getting away from getting out there and getting after them right at the beginning and blowing them out,” D’Antoni said (ESPN). ”Now we’re waiting until the end. We’re going against that and we’ll try to do a better job.”
Houston ended up outscoring Utah 41-15 in the final period. Their scoring explosion made the final score, 120-99 in favor of the Rockets. Gordon led the way with 33 points off the bench. James Harden chipped in 26, Clint Capela had 24, and Chris Paul added 18.
When you live by the three, that means you risk dying by it as well. Houston almost ended up doing that against the Jazz. But they were able to get hot when it mattered most, and the winning streak lives on.
They will try to make it 15 in a row when the Lakers come to town Wednesday night.
As for Utah, it’s a tough one to lose after keeping it close for three quarters.
”We didn’t have enough at the end,” Utah head coach Quin Snyder said after the game (ESPN). ”We couldn’t get stops in the fourth quarter and that can happen. [We] can say we ran out of gas, but they just continued to put pressure on us.”
The Jazz will play next Wednesday night as well. They’ll try to get back on the right side of the scoreboard when they play the Thunder in Oklahoma City.