Jazz ease past Rockets
Derrick Favors recorded a double-double off the bench, and Joe Ingles helped shoulder the early load on offense as the Utah Jazz continued their strong play with a 118-91 demolition of the Houston Rockets on Thursday in Salt Lake City.
Utah (13-13) has won 5 of 7 games to reach .500 for the first time since Nov. 17.
Favors finished with 24 points and 10 rebounds in just 25 minutes while Ingles totaled 18 points on 6-of-9 shooting.
The Jazz lost starting center Rudy Gobert to an ejection at the 9:13 mark of the first quarter and received only six points from Donovan Mitchell yet coasted to victory against the listless Rockets, leading by as many as 37 points.
James Harden paced the Rockets with 15 points but shot 5 of 16 from the floor and recorded seven turnovers. Chris Paul had five turnovers and five assists to go along with his 12 points. Clint Capela added 12 points and 10 rebounds for the Rockets, who are 1-5 over their past six road games.
Houston (11-13) has dropped six of its past eight games overall.
Dante Exum (15 points), Ricky Rubio (13) and Jae Crowder (12) all scored in double figures for Utah.
The Jazz opened the second half with 15-2 blitz that extended its eight-point halftime lead to 68-47 at the 7:20 mark of the frame. The Rockets, who totaled nine points in the fourth quarter while blowing a double-digit halftime lead at Minnesota on Monday, tallied 11 points in the third quarter against the Jazz.
Gobert was whistled for a foul on the opening tip and an offensive foul moments later. He reacted to the second infraction with a violent swing at items stacked on the scorer's table and was ejected. Utah responded by closing the first quarter with an 11-2 run as the Rockets recorded as many turnovers (six) in the period as baskets.
The Jazz extended to a 47-32 lead in the second before Harden led a comeback, scoring eight points during a 13-6 run that closed the half. However, Ingles and Crowder opened the third with 3-pointers sandwiched around Houston turnovers before Crowder completed a three-point play.
Paul scored 10 points in the first half to reach 17,000 for his career. He stands 142 assists shy of joining Jason Kidd, Magic Johnson, Oscar Robertson, and John Stockton as the only players in league history to produce 17,000 points, 9,000 assists, and 4,000 rebounds.
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