Balanced Rockets work past Jazz
CBSSports.com wire reports
Dec. 1, 2012
HOUSTON -- There's a lot more to the Houston Rockets' offense than just James Harden.
Patrick Patterson scored 20 points, Chandler Parsons and Jeremy Lin had 19 apiece and the Rockets beat the Utah Jazz 124-116 on Saturday night.
Harden finished with 18 points and seven assists for the Rockets, who shot a season-best 55 percent (46 of 83) and hit half of their 3-point shots at 11 of 22. Greg Smith and Carlos Delfino each scored 13.
Houston scored a season-high 39 points in the fourth quarter, and it's averaging 113 points during a five-game home winning streak.
"There's a lot more balance, and I think the ball is moving," said Lin, who led Houston with eight assists. "We're getting our bigs in a spot that they need to be to keep the floor spread. It's starting to look more and more dangerous."
The Rockets finished with 26 assists, just shy of the season-high 30 they had in a 117-101 home win over Toronto on Tuesday. Houston had seven players score in double figures for the first time this year.
"We're very unselfish," Parsons said. "We're moving the ball great right now. If you look at the stat sheet, it was so balanced. That's how we've got to go, because every different night, a different player can beat you."
Omer Asik had 14 points and 12 rebounds for Houston. He briefly left the game after taking an elbow from Hayward, but returned for the final minutes.
Gordon Hayward had 13 of his 21 points in the second half and Al Jefferson and Randy Foye each scored 20 for Utah. The Jazz lost despite shooting 51 percent (48 of 94) overall and going 11 for 20 from 3-point range.
"We wait or give teams the opportunity to get runs against us and we get runs back," Utah coach Tyrone Corbin said. "That happens in games, but we have to understand (that) from the beginning of the game, as if we are down."
Patterson has added the 3-point shot to his game in recent weeks, forcing defenses to shed their double teams on Harden and Lin. He's hit six 3-pointers in the last three games and he's topped 20 points in each of them.
"Just working on it, every single day in practice," the 6-foot-9 Patterson said. "My teammates keep looking for me, and if I can knock it down, I'm going to keep shooting it."
Houston led 58-49 at the break after hitting 23 of 39 shots (59 percent) in the first half, its best percentage for a half this season.
Hayward sank a 3-pointer and scored seven points in the first six minutes of the third quarter, and the Jazz rallied to tie it. He was whistled for an offensive foul when he elbowed Asik on a drive. Asik came out of the game and walked to the locker room, pressing a towel to his face.
Hayward sank another 3 with 3:26 left in the third to put the Jazz up 75-74. He scored 11 points in the quarter and made all four of his shots, then dunked an alley-oop pass from Earl Watson early in the fourth.
Delfino, back after missing seven games with a groin injury, hit a 3-pointer to tie it at 88 and Parsons converted a three-point play after finishing a fast break to put Houston back on top.
The Rockets hit three 3-pointers early in the fourth quarter to stretch the lead to 10, but the Jazz answered with a quick 9-0 spurt to cut the deficit to 105-104. Both teams had their starters on the floor for the last six minutes, including Asik for Houston.
Patterson sank a corner 3 for a 112-109 lead with just over four minutes left. The Jazz missed their next four shots, running out of energy on the heels of a loss in Oklahoma City on Friday night.
"We came back and had opportunities in the game, on the road," Corbin said. "We just didn't finish it off."
- Jazz F Marvin Williams sat out for the second straight game with concussion symptoms, and Corbin said he has to pass more tests before he'll be cleared to return. Williams took a hard fall in Utah's 96-84 win in New Orleans on Wednesday.
- Jazz F/C Derrick Favors has an MRI exam scheduled for Sunday after straining his right arch in Friday night's loss to Oklahoma City. "Any time you hear about an injury you've got to have an MRI for, the MRI could reveal something," Corbin said. "Hopefully, it's just a short-term thing.".
- The Rockets have won 23 of their last 25 December home games.
- All five Houston starters scored in double figures for the third time in four games.