The rag-tag, knockabout, rough-and-tumble shooting forward for the Utah Jazz had a banner day today in Game 2 of Utah's second round NBA Playoff matchup against the Houston Rockets. From then to halftime, James Harden scored 15 points (he had 17 overall in the second quarter) as the Rockets pulled to within nine at the half. I originally had this going six games, but definitely didn't see Houston losing tonight.
"We came out a step behind in Game 1 - we were able to watch it and learn from it and play a bit more how we wanted to play for this game".
Utah came out of a timeout following Gordon's shot and a driving Donovan Mitchell found a wide-open Dante Exum in the corner for a 3-pointer of his own, his second of the game, to give the Jazz the lead back.
The Jazz had every opportunity to fold and let the Rockets take over the game, but they remained composed and relied on their defense to get a victory. Credit to Utah, they came out strong, imposed their will, and hit their open shots.
Just like they did in the first round against the Thunder, the Jazz bounced back from a Game 1 loss to tie their best-of-seven series at 1-1.
It was all about closing from there, and with Mitchell handling the offense, Ingles shooting his face off (27 points on 10-of-13 shooting, 7-of-9 from 3) and some timely bench production, the Jazz responded after their lackluster Game 1 performance. He then added four more assists in the fourth quarter to finish with 11 for the game, a new career-high.
"Just sticking together and just keep executing", Ingles said about what carried the Jazz down the stretch.
However, Donovan Mitchell and Joe Ingles made sure the comeback would fall short.
"We had some time to think about, and talk about what we do", Ingles said post-game. Exum came off the bench and gave James Harden a tough time with his length and athleticism.
Out of the locker room, Clint Capela picked up where Harden left off. Ariza fouled Gobert before the big man could rise up for a dunk, and the Frenchman made one of two free throws, and Utah led by eight.
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.
Mitchell broke John Stockton's franchise playoff record with 11 assists, more than making up for his 6-of-21 shooting while playing point guard because Ricky Rubio was out with a hamstring injury. The Jazz went back up 86-85 by the end of the period. Mitchell recorded a double-double with 17 points and 11 assists, with Alec Burks (17), Jae Crowder (15), Rudy Gobert (15), and Derrick Favors (10) all scoring in double figures as well.