Rockets fall to Jazz
Reserve Gordon Hayward scored 15 points, Al Jefferson had 14 points and 16 rebounds and the Utah Jazz beat the road-weary Houston Rockets 102-91 on Monday night.
Randy Foye hit four 3-pointers and scored 14 points for the Jazz, who led by as many as 23 in the first half after opening the second quarter with a 13-0 run. Utah led by 17 at halftime.
The Rockets pulled within nine late in the third, but Houston wouldn't get any closer with leading scorer James Harden on the bench with a fever and upper-respiratory infection. Harden started 0 of 6 and finished with six points in 17 minutes before exiting just before halftime.
Patrick Patterson scored a season-high 19 points and Jeremy Lin added 13 for Houston, which lost its third straight.
Lin's layup with 6:44 left in the third pulled Houston to 70-60, but Foye's fourth 3-pointer bumped Utah's lead back to 13 points, and Jefferson sank a pair of free throws to make it a 15-point lead.
A 6-0 Houston run, capped by Greg Smith's jam, got Houston within 75-66. Utah closed the third on a 10-4 run, capped by Hayward's three-point play after a driving layup at the buzzer.
The Jazz opened with their big lineup again: Derrick Favors at power forward in place Marvin Williams and Foye in at shooting guard in place of Hayward.
That changed one minute in as Favors had two fouls and went to the bench. Both would be key reserves, with Williams adding 12 points, including 3-of-3 shooting from beyond the arc.
It was a rough night from the beginning for Harden, who was a game-time decision because of the illness. He wouldn't score his first basket until 1:37 remained in the half.
The Jazz also got off to a slow start as they did Saturday against the lowly Wizards.
But after trailing 7-0 to open the game, the Jazz outscored the Rockets 42-19 over the next 14 minutes. They led by as many as 23 in the second quarter, 59-36, after back-to-back 3-pointers by Foye.
The Jazz opened the second quarter on a 13-0 run to take a 42-26 lead, holding the Rockets scoreless in the quarter until Harden hit a pair of free throws with 7:03 left.
During the run, big man Enes Kanter was a force inside with back-to-back blocks of Terrence Jones and Toney Douglas and a high-flying dunk off an alley-oop pass from DeMarre Carroll. Favors also was tough in the paint, dunking off another Carroll pass and finishing with two of Utah's 11 blocked shots.
Utah's starters poured it on late in the second, with Jefferson muscling between two defenders and converting a three-point play. Foye's first 3-pointer put Utah up 20 with 3:12 left in the second.
Utah (6-6) led 61-44 at halftime, shooting 50 percent to 38 for the Rockets. The Jazz also held a 26-18 edge on points in the paint and 17-6 advantage on the fast break in the first half, while their bench outscored the Rockets reserves 26-9 before the break.
Overall, Utah shot just 40.2 percent but made 9 of 21 from 3-point range. The Jazz also held a 30-19 advantage on the fast break.
The Rockets were 7 of 21 from 3-point range and shot just 34.9 percent overall.
Notes: Former Jazz coach and Hall of Famer Jerry Sloan watched the game from about 20 rows above Utah's bench. ... Jefferson had nine rebounds in the first half. ... The Rockets (4-7) opened their three-game road trip with an overtime loss at Portland then gave up 40 first-quarter points in an 11-point loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday night. Now they head home, where they will play five of the next six, including a rematch with the Jazz on Dec. 1.
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