Jazz shock Rockets to level NBA playoff series
LOS ANGELES – Agence France-Presse
Australian Forward Joe Ingles scored a playoff career-high 27 points and star rookie Donovan Mitchell added 17 as Utah used a big fourth quarter to thwart a second-half comeback bid by superstar James Harden and the Rockets in Houston.
That included two late in the fourth, when his three from the left corner with 4:25 remaining took the Jazz lead to 108-96.
“To be honest I was just trying to shoot a floater and grab a rebound, but I was up there so I figured why come down with it,” Mitchell said.
“The biggest thing is we defended,” Mitchell said. “We’ll take this win, but we need three more.”
NBA scoring champion Harden notched 32 points with 11 assists and seven rebounds for the Rockets, who erased a 19-point first-half deficit to take a five-point lead in the third quarter.
“We came out a little to lackadaisical,” said Harden. “We were kind of going through the motions.”
Just when it looked like the potent Rockets had warmed up and might pull away, the Jazz responded and were up 86-85 heading into the final period.
“They’re obviously a good team,” Ingles said of the Rockets, who posted the league’s best record in the regular season. “They made runs -- we knew they were going to make runs.
“Sticking together, I think we did a really good job of that,” he added. “We were able to make our own runs when it was our turn as well.”