Jazz beat Rockets to keep hot streak going
By Agence France-Presse
Reserve Derrick Favors finished with 24 points and 10 rebounds as the Utah Jazz delivered another shooting night to remember with a 118-91 victory over the Houston Rockets on Thursday.
Joe Ingles chipped in 18 points and, like Favors, Dante Exum came off the bench to score 15, as five players reached double figures proving once again that Utah’s unselfish offence is the defining aspect of their recent winning streak.
Two nights ago, the Jazz had seven players in double figures in a win over San Antonio. They are a much different team than the group that struggled through a shooting slump for much of November.
Utah won for the fourth time in five contests and did it without star centre Rudy Gobert, who was ejected by the officials less than three minutes into the game.
Gobert picked up his first foul on the opening tip. After collecting his second foul at 9:13 of the first quarter, Gobert got tossed when he got frustrated and swatted at some items, including a paper cup, which were sitting on the scorer’s table.
Gobert was slapped with a $15,000 fine from league disciplinary officials earlier in the week for criticizing the officials following Utah’s 102-100 loss to Miami on Sunday.
Referee Tom Washington said Gobert grabbed Clint Capela’s arm on the opening tipoff. And then he was ejected for losing his temper.
“He was coming off the floor and he forcefully swung at items on the scorer’s table and those three items came out onto the floor. It was just too demonstrative and we had to take action,” said Washington.
James Harden scored 15 points while Chris Paul and Capela added 12 apiece for the visiting Rockets, who allowed an opponent to pull away in the second half for a second consecutive game.
Houston hasn’t had trouble generating offence lately but they have struggled mightily on defence. On Thursday they committed a season-high 22 turnovers and surrendered up a season-high 33 points off those mistakes.
Despite the loss of Gobert, Utah was able to kick their offence into high gear by going on an 11-0 spurt to build a 27-16 lead in the first quarter.
The Jazz led by as many as 15 points in the second quarter, before Houston cut it to 53-45 with two seconds left before halftime.
But in the third quarter, the Jazz regrouped and ran away with the game.