NBA regular season

Jalen Green stays red-hot as Rockets near Warriors, Lakers spots off 11th straight win


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Jalen Green stays red-hot as Rockets near Warriors, Lakers spots off 11th straight win

RED-HOT. Houston Rockets guard Jalen Green (4) tries to get to the basket during the second half against the Utah Jazz at Delta Center. Mandatory Credit: Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports

USA TODAY Sports via Reuters Con

Fil-Am rising star Jalen Green continues his late-season tear, just in time for the Houston Rockets to catch up within striking distance of the Golden State Warriors' and Los Angeles Lakers' play-in spots

Jalen Green scored 34 points, including 30 in the second half, and Fred VanVleet added 22 as the red-hot Houston Rockets defeated the Utah Jazz 101-100 on Friday (Saturday, March 30, Manila time) in Salt Lake City for their 11th consecutive victory.

Amen Thompson contributed 18 points, 14 rebounds and five assists and Jabari Smith Jr. chipped in 14 points to help Houston match its longest winning streak since late in the 2017-18 season.

With the win, Houston (38-35) remained a game behind the Golden State Warriors, who beat the Charlotte Hornets earlier Friday, for the final play-in spot in the Western Conference.

John Collins contributed 30 points and 11 rebounds and Collin Sexton had 29 points for Utah (29-45), which lost its eighth straight. Injured veterans Lauri Markkanen (shoulder) and Jordan Clarkson (back) didn’t play.

Green, who had 20 points in the third quarter, and VanVleet combined for just nine points in the first half but exploded to score 47 in the second half.

VanVleet scored 14 in the fourth, including a clutch shot to give the Rockets a four-point lead with 15 seconds remaining. Utah had just trimmed Houston’s seven-point fourth-quarter lead to one.

After Johnny Juzang scored to cut the lead to two with 6.4 seconds remaining, Green hit two free throws with 3.1 seconds left to seal the win.

Taylor Hendricks hit a last-second 3-pointer to narrow the deficit.

Green scored 14 points in the first five-plus minutes of the third quarter to help the Rockets during a 20-7 surge, turning a 47-41 halftime deficit into a 61-54 lead. He later hit a 3 to increase the lead to 67-58.

The Jazz closed out the quarter with a 14-2 run to reclaim a 72-69 advantage.

Utah led by four when VanVleet ignited a 14-3 run with a 3 and a floater as Houston went up 92-85. Green capped that surge with a 3-pointer to end a possession in which the Rockets had four offensive rebounds.

Utah made a late push to get within one but the rally fell short. –

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