In what felt like a game played in a different universe from the physical first round playoff series against the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Houston Rockets made quick work of the poorly rested Utah Jazz, and took a 1-0 series lead 110-96.
The Jazz allowed the Rockets to 17-33 from the three point line (53%), gave up 41 points to James Harden, and found themselves down double digits for the majority of the game, including the all of the final three quarters of the game.
Donovan Mitchell and Jae Crowder led the Jazz with 21 points a piece, but any Jazz scoring felt ancillary, as the team appeared simply to be hoping to avoid a pure blowout for most of the second half.
The Jazz were best when they were attacking the paint, as the Rockets lack a truly elite rim protector, and cut the lead to 11 at one point late in the second half, but Harden quickly responded with a 7-2 run of his own, and secured a comfortable victory for Houston.
The Jazz have two days to rest before Wednesday night’s game two.
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