Rockets star James Harden expects Jazz to be better in Game 2
The Houston Rockets and Utah Jazz split their four regular season matchups, but you would hardly know it from Houston’s 122-90 blowout of Utah in Game 1 of their first-round playoff series.
Utah shot a woeful 7-27 from the three-point line, as the Rockets totally took their shooters out of the game. Kyle Korver did not take a single field goal attempt in 10 minutes of run, Joe Ingles took just three treys, and Jae Crowder was 1-of-7 from beyond the arc.
The Jazz shot below 40 percent from the field for the game, while Houston shot over 50 percent and made 15 triples. But despite Utah’s struggles in Game 1, James Harden said he thinks the Jazz will continue to come out firing in Game 2.
James Harden, on the Jazz’s 3-point woes in Game 1: “We played pretty good defense, but they missed some shots as well. Give them credit — they’ll be better in Game 2. They’ll make those shots. Our defensive intensity’s gotta go up even more.” pic.twitter.com/jWFUIL0zff
— Eric Walden (@tribjazz) April 16, 2019
James Harden was at his usual all-around best in Game 1, scoring 29 points while adding 10 assists and eight rebounds. The Rockets had seven players in double figures, while the Jazz had just four. Houston also tallied 25 assists compared to just 17 for Utah.
The Rockets have been playing their best basketball at the end of the season with a fully healthy roster. Houston went off to a 20-4 record after All-Star weekend, the best mark in the league. The Jazz were not far behind, posting an 18-6 record after the break.
Houston was one of the best teams at defending the perimeter in the regular season, holding opponents to just 34 percent shooting from beyond the arc. The Jazz were in the middle of the league in this same category.
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