ANALYSIS Houston Sports

Houston Rockets Recap: Rockets open homestand with a loss to the Jazz

James Harden injured late as the Houston Rockets opened their three-game homestand with a 100-89 loss to the Utah Jazz.
James Harden injured late as the Houston Rockets opened their three-game homestand with a 100-89 loss to the Utah Jazz.

Following a heartbreaking loss to the Los Angeles Clippers, the Houston Rockets dropped their second straight game in a 100-89 loss to the Utah Jazz, Wednesday night, in the Toyota Center. With another loss, the Rockets are currently winless at home to start the season.

Behind a combined 19 first-quarter points by James Harden (10) and Carmelo Anthony (9), the Rockets jumped out to an early 29-24 lead to begin the game. Unfortunately, their play in the first quarter marked the last time Houston was ahead during the game.

The Jazz went on to outscore the Rockets 28-15 in the second quarter to take a 52-44 lead into the break. Despite trailing 75-66 heading into the fourth quarter, the Rockets went on a 6-0 run to cut their late-game deficit down to five.

Unfortunately, Houston fell short of a comeback after Harden left the game with five minutes remaining. According to Mike D’Antoni, Harden sustained a hamstring injury and will be reevaluated Thursday afternoon.

Despite an early exit, Harden led the way for the Rockets with 29 points on 10-for-19 shooting from the field, five rebounds, and seven assists. Anthony had his best game as a Rocket after he recorded 22 points and seven rebounds in the loss.

3 takeaways in the loss:

Defense but no offense:

Do not let the final score be deceiving. The Rockets played a solid game on the defensive end. Houston held one of the best three-point shooting teams in the league to 34.5 percent and allowed a season-low 48 points in the paint.

Sadly, by picking up their sense of urgency on defense, the Rockets had one of their worst shooting nights in recent memory. As a team, the Rockets shot 27.5 percent from behind the arc and 57.1 percent from the charity stripe.

Although several players struggled to find their rhythm, no one was more disappointing Eric Gordon. In his second game starting for the suspended Chris Paul, Gordon scored 11 points on 5-21 shooting, 1-12 from 3-point range.

Finding his niche:

His first three games did not go so well, but Carmelo Anthony is starting to find his niche in Houston. In a game where the Rockets needed someone to step up in the absence of CP3, Melo has his best game as a Rocket.

In 39 minutes of play, Anthony scored a season-high 22 points off the bench, shooting 9-17 from the field. For the first time this season, it seemed as if D’Antoni allowed Melo to play his game by posting up on the block, and scoring from the mid-range.

Following the game, D’Antoni announced that there is a high possibility that Anthony may start for the injured James Ennis in Friday’s match against the Clippers.

Donovan Mitchell is a superstar:

After a successful rookie campaign that saw him finish second for Rookie of the Year honors, it is no secret that Donovan Mitchell is a star. And after a phenomenal performance against the Rockets, Mitchell is quickly becoming a superstar in this league.

Houston had no answer in slowing down Mitchell has he was the primary reason the Jazz came away victorious in Wednesday’s game. The second-year guard recorded a season-high 39 points, seven rebounds, and five assists in the win.

If Mitchell can continue to play at a high caliber level, the Jazz will have a great chance of becoming a huge threat in the tough Western Conference.

After falling to the Jazz, the Rockets will look to end their two-game losing streak Friday against the Clippers. To stay up to date on all things Rockets and more, be sure to subscribe to You Can Argue That Sports and receive notifications of new posts and podcasts by email.

 

 

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