Harden, Rockets cruise past Jazz in Game 1

Spurs upset Jokic, No. 2 Nuggets

The desperate 36-footer by Donovan Mitchell sailed over the backboard in a miserable moment that epitomized the Utah Jazz's offensive woes in their 122-90 Game 1 loss to the Houston Rockets on Sunday.

Utah coach Quin Snyder clearly watched tape of the Rockets-Milwaukee games this year and saw how they shaded Harden on his left hand and forced him off the three point line because that was their strategy in Game One. "It just wasn't consistent enough".

For the Jazz, Rudy Gobert led the team with 22 points, 12 rebounds and one assist.

The Jazz fell behind by as many as 17 in the first half but cut that margin to five midway through the third quarter thanks to a 17-7 run.

Houston's entire starting lineup had at least 10 points.

The Houston Rockets can take a comfortable 2-0 series lead with a victory here. We turned it over. "That's how we have to play defensively. I guess that's what I'm trying to say". Utah holds opponents to 45.2 percent shooting from the field and 35.5 percent shooting from the arc. For a team that made 46.8 percent of their shots during the regular season, the Jazz were way off that mark as well, only making 39.0 percent of their shots from the field. Houston is a 6.5-point favorite and the over-under for total points scored is 212.5 in the latest Jazz vs. Rockets odds, down sharply from an open of 219.

Denver All-Star Nikola Jokic posted the fourth triple-double in Nuggets playoff history, with 10 points, 14 assists and 14 rebounds. Not only did the Rockets hold the Jazz to 90 points and 39 percent shooting, they shut the Jazz down in the first and fourth quarters holding them to 20 and 19 points respectively.

Rockets: D'Antoni was back on the sideline after missing Houston's last three regular-season games with an intestinal virus.

Utah's bench struggled mightily, shooting a combined 4-for-26 (15.4 percent) in the loss. Jae Crowder was the only player to contribute more than five points while three players went scoreless.

Mitchell ended a Utah scoring drought of about 4 ½ minutes after that with a 3-pointer, but Harden hit a 3 seconds later to leave the Rockets up 79-64.

Coach's Quote of the Night "You're going to give something up against the Rockets". "So it was just a matter of adjusting and continuing to communicate with the guys of what spots they needed to be in". We had some breakdowns in the half court, no question.

For the Nuggets, who finished with the second best record in the Western Conference; yesterday was their chance to show the doubters that they are for real and can compete with the Golden State Warriors, but the Spurs showed them the importance of having an experienced team come playoff time.

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