Kevin Porter Jr. posted a double-double while Jalen Green and Jabari Smith Jr. each topped 20 points as the host Houston Rockets won for the first time this season, defeating the previously unbeaten Utah Jazz 114-108 on Filipino Heritage Night, Monday (Tuesday, October 25, Manila time).
Porter paired 26 points with 10 rebounds, while the Fil-Am Green added 25 points on 9-of-16 shooting. Smith just missed posting a second consecutive double-double by adding 21 points and nine rebounds. That trio shot a combined 18-for-18 from the free-throw line.
The Jazz, who were coming off an overtime victory in New Orleans on Sunday, were led by Fil-Am Jordan Clarkson’s 17 points and Lauri Markkanen’s 14. Jarred Vanderbilt and Kelly Olynyk combined for 26 points and 20 rebounds, while Simone Fontecchio contributed 13 points in 16 minutes off the bench.
Despite their lethargy, the Jazz erased what was once a 10-point deficit and took their first lead at 63-62 on a Markkanen driving layup at the 6:46 mark of the third quarter. Green immediately answered with a pull-up 3-pointer and, every time the Jazz pulled even, Houston fashioned a response.
The Rockets’ persistence extended into the fourth quarter, even with Utah creating multiple second-chance opportunities via eight offensive rebounds in the final period. Additionally, the Jazz unlocked more efficient offense and generated key layups for Fontecchio and Markkanen.
The Rockets, however, answered a driving layup from Jazz guard Mike Conley with one by Eric Gordon with 1:23 left that snapped a 108-108 deadlock. Smith extended the lead with two free throws, and Porter sealed the win with his 10th rebound, snagging a Clarkson missed 3-pointer.
In a ragged first quarter, the teams combined for 11 turnovers while missing 13 of 15 3-pointers, and the second period wasn’t much better.
Green, following a quiet opening quarter, did find a bit of rhythm just prior to the intermission, answering an 11-4 run from the Jazz with a driving layup and a 3-pointer that pushed the lead back to eight points.
However, despite managing a plus-9 advantage in shot attempts and total rebounds, the Rockets held a modest 51-45 lead at the break. The teams totaled 23 turnovers and shot 8 of 35 on treys. – Rappler.com