Jefferson has double-double to lead Jazz past Rockets

Associated Press
11/20/2012 12:00:44 AM
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SALT LAKE CITY -- Houston Rockets guard James Harden was feeling ill before the game, with a fever and upper-respiratory infection.

The Utah Jazz really made him feel even worse when they went on a 13-0 run to open the second quarter, ultimately the difference in a 102-91 victory on Monday night over the road-weary Rockets.

"That's flat-out defence," said Jazz forward Marvin Williams, who started the run with one of his three 3-pointers. "We played with a ton of energy and got them to miss shots and converted on the other end. That opened it up for us."

Reserve Gordon Hayward scored 15 points and Al Jefferson had 14 points and 16 rebounds to lead the Jazz, who evened their record at 6-6.

Hayward, who has come off the bench the last two games along with Marvin Williams, scored on a fast-break layup to keep the run going.

Then big man Enes Kanter took over.

He was a force inside with back-to-back blocks of Terrence Jones and Toney Douglas and a high-flying dunk off an alley-oop pass from DeMarre Carroll. Derrick Favours also was tough in the paint, dunking off another Carroll pass and finishing with two of Utah's 11 blocked shots.

The Jazz held Houston scoreless for the first 4:57 of the second quarter.

"The second group came in and gave us a huge boost, moving the ball against the transition baskets," Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said. "The pace picked up when Marvin came in and made some baskets and we got running from there."

Utah's starters poured it on late in the second, with Jefferson muscling between two defenders and converting a three-point play. Randy Foye's first 3-pointer put Utah up 20 with 3:12 left in the second.

Foye finished with four 3-pointers and scored 14 points for the Jazz, who led by as many as 23 in the first half. Utah led by 17 at halftime, shooting 50 per cent from 3-point range (5 of 10).

The Rockets (4-7) pulled within nine late in the third, but Houston wouldn't get any closer with leading scorer Harden on the bench with a fever. Harden was a game-time decision but coach Kelvin Sampson said he wanted to give it a try. He started 0 of 6 and finished with six points in 17 minutes before exiting just before halftime.

"We shut him down, gave him some medicine and tried to get him ready for Wednesday," Sampson said of Harden, who came in averaging 26 points.

Patrick Patterson tried to pick up the slack, scoring a season-high 19 points, and Jeremy Lin added 13 for Houston, which lost its third straight.

Patterson was disappointed at the effort in transition.

"There are no excuses for tonight, even though we did play in L.A. last night," Patterson said of the 11-point loss to the Lakers. "We're an NBA team. We're all professionals out here. We're all in NBA shape. We're all fine. Usually we're the ones known for pushing the ball, but tonight it seemed the shoe was on the other foot. They were doing that to us."

Lin's layup with 6:44 left in the third pulled Houston to 70-60, but Foye's fourth 3-pointer bumped Utah's lead back to 13 points, and Jefferson sank a pair of free throws to make it a 15-point lead.

A 6-0 Houston run, capped by Greg Smith's jam, got Houston within 75-66. Utah closed the third on a 10-4 run, capped by Hayward's three-point play after a driving layup at the buzzer.

"It's hard, especially on the road, when you get down that big," said Houston forward Chandler Parsons, who finished with 11 points and 10 boards but shot just 3 of 11.

"Granted we're tired. It's the last game on a road trip. But there are no excuses. It's a game we should have come in here and stole."

The Jazz opened with their big lineup again: Favours at power forward in place of Williams and Foye in at shooting guard in place of Hayward.

That changed one minute in as Favours had two fouls and went to the bench. Both would be key reserves, with Williams adding 12 points, including 3-of-3 shooting from beyond the arc.

Utah led 61-44 at halftime, shooting 50 per cent to 38 for the Rockets. The Jazz also held a 26-18 edge on points in the paint and 17-6 advantage on the fast break in the first half, while their bench outscored the Rockets reserves 26-9 before the break.

"We got down and pretty much the whole rest of the game was a dog fight trying to get back into the game," said Patterson, who shot 8 of 14 and had two of Houston's nine blocked shots.

Notes: Former Jazz coach and Hall of Famer Jerry Sloan watched the game from about 20 rows above Utah's bench. ... Jefferson had nine rebounds in the first half. ... Utah shot just 40.2 per cent but made 9 of 21 from 3-point range. The Jazz also held a 30-19 advantage on the fast break. ... The Rockets were 7 of 21 from 3-point range and shot just 34.9 per cent overall. ... The Rockets will play five of the next six at home, including a rematch with the Jazz on Dec. 1.

Al Jefferson (Photo: Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE/Getty Images)


(Photo: Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE/Getty Images)
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