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MANILA, Philippines – James Harden dazzled with a triple-double as the Houston Rockets dumped the Utah Jazz for the second straight game, 118-98, in the NBA Western Conference first-round playoffs on Wednesday, April 17 (Thursday, April 18, Manila time).
Harden dropped 32 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists to notch his third career playoff triple-double.
“What he had done in the first 3 quarters was ridiculous,” Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni said of the league’s reigning Most Valuable Player, who knocked in 18 points from beyond the arc.
Chris Paul also fired 17 points as the Rockets took a 2-0 edge in the best-of-seven series before heading to Utah on Saturday for Game 3.
“We came out aggressive,” said Paul. “We just came out with high energy, [we were] focused and ready to play.”
Eric Gordon and PJ Tucker scored 16 each for the Rockets, who blasted off to 39-19 advantage right in the 1st quarter and never looked back.
“We always try to push up the pace, speed up the game,” said Paul.
Ricky Rubio had 7 points and 9 assists to lead 5 Utah players in double-figures, including team star Donovan Mitchell, who tallied 11 points and 6 assists.
“They’re playing at an unbelievably high level,” Jazz coach Quin Snyder, whose wards also got blown off, 122-90, in Game 1.
“It’s hard, but we’re not going to quit,” said Rubio. – Rappler.com