Rockets fall to Jazz 116-108 in Game 2 of Western Conference semifinals
HOUSTON – Joe Ingles scored a career-high 27 points and the Utah Jazz squandered a huge early lead before using a big fourth quarter to regain control and beat the Houston Rockets 116-108 on Wednesday night and tie the Western Conference semifinals at 1-1.
Ingles made a career-best seven 3-pointers and star rookie Donovan Mitchell added 17 points and 11 assists for his first game this postseason where he scored fewer than 20 points and didn't lead the team in scoring.
The Jazz were behind by two with eight minutes left before using a 16-2 run to pull away. Game 3 is Friday night in Utah.
After trailing by 25 points at halftime of the 110-96 loss in the series opener, the Jazz jumped out to an early lead in this one and led by as many as 19 in the first half.
Houston regained the lead in the third quarter but couldn't keep pace with the Jazz in the fourth as their normally potent offense went cold.
James Harden had 32 points and 11 assists, and Chris Paul added 23 points as Houston fell to the Jazz for the first time this season after winning the first five meetings.
Houston was down by one entering the fourth but Utah scored eight straight points on 3-pointers from Dante Exum and Jae Crowder before Mitchell capped it with a nifty one-handed follow dunk to make it 100-94 .
Mitchell missed a jumper and sailed above three Rockets to grab the rebound and slam it down with one hand. He did it right near the Jazz bench and his teammates went wild, cheering and pretending to fall backward on each other in awe.
Harden made a basket after that before Utah scored another eight straight points, with two 3s from Ingles, to make it 108-96 with 4 1/2 minutes left.
Harden ended a 2 1/2-minute Houston scoring drought with a 3-pointer about a minute later that was the start of a 9-3 run that got the Rockets within 111-105 with 1:46 left. But Rudy Gobert made one of two free throws before Exum put it out of reach with a dunk.
Utah led by nine before Houston used a 16-5 run to go up 71-69 for its first lead since it was 6-5 with about seven minutes left in the third. The Jazz went back up 86-85 by the end of the period.
After taking just four shots in Game 1 and finishing with 11 points, Gobert got going early Wednesday and had 13 points on 5-of-7 shooting by halftime. But he was mostly quiet after the break, and finished with 15 points and 14 rebounds.
Jazz: Coach Quin Snyder said before the game that he didn't know when point guard Ricky Rubio would return. ... Utah assistant Igor Kokoskov was hired as head coach of the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday. ... Ingles got a technical in the second quarter for arguing with Paul.
Rockets: Luc Mbah a Moute had four points and four rebounds in his second game back after missing the first series after dislocating his right shoulder on April 10. ... Paul also received a technical for barking at Ingles. ... Capela finished with 21 points and 11 rebounds.
The series moves to Utah where Game 3 is Friday and Game 4 will be played on Sunday.
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