SALT LAKE CITY – Georges Niang tied a career high with 24 points and the NBA-leading Utah Jazz beat the short-handed Houston Rockets 124-116 on Saturday night to reach 50 victories.
Jordan Clarkson scored 21 points, and Bojan Bogdanovic added 20 — his seventh straight 20-point performance — for the Jazz.
Utah finished 5-0 on its homestand despite missing All-Stars Donovan Mitchell and Mike Conley again.
“We just had to really fight through mentally. And just keep pushing ... that’s how we stuck out this win, but I ain’t going to lie to you: This season has been grueling and tiring, but it is what it is and we came here to work,” Clarkson said.
Niang took advantage of some post-ups in the paint and was a sharpshooter from beyond the arc. Starting just his eighth game, Niang scored 10 points in the third quarter and his 3-pointer with 2:50 left in the period gave Utah its largest lead, 96-75.
“I know he’s gonna be at the right spot at the right time,” Utah's Joe Ingles said of Niang. “If I get in the lane and I key to the corner, he’s going to be somewhere in that area and he will definitely shoot it so it’s a good look for us, when he’s out there playing like that with confidence.”
The usually mild-mannered Niang was so fired up, he drew a technical for taunting after draining a 3 that tied his career high of 24 early in the final period. He was 6 of 8 on 3-pointers.
“I usually hold my emotions, and I just happened to lose my cool. That’s not who I am or aspire to be,” Niang said. “I thought he had brushed me in the face on purpose. So I told him that he was too late, like, he wasn’t going to get to my shot anyway.”