James Harden and the Houston Rockets came into Game 2 leading 1-0 and feeling very confident about their ability to take a commanding 2-0 lead. Unfortunately, they were unable to get the job done. Utah won the game by a final score of 116-108 and the two teams will head back to Utah with a best-of-five series to play.
Utah took control of the game early, but the Rockets made an effort to come back in the second half. That didn’t end up holding up and the Rockets are now back to square one in the series.
Houston saw Harden put together another big performance, scoring 32 points and dishing out 11 assists. Chris Paul also had a solid game on the offensive end for the Rockets with 23, while Clint Capela scored 21 points and grabbed 11 rebounds. Eric Gordon rounded out the double-digit scorers for the Rockets with 15 off the bench.
Joe Ingles was the biggest killer for the Rockets, scoring 27 points and nailing seven threes. Donovan Mitchell scored 17 and racked up 11 assists as well for the Jazz. Utah had great balanced scoring throughout the game and the Rockets simply couldn’t keep up with them.
All of that being said, what three things can the Rockets take away from their Game 2 loss to the Jazz?
Houston MUST Defend the Three
If the Rockets want to win this series, and they most certainly are the better all-around team, they have to defend the three. Utah got open look after open look from behind the arc and that is what ended up losing the game. Houston must get back to playing better perimeter defense in Game 3.
The Bench Must Produce More Scoring
Houston had a rough night as far as production from their bench is concerned. Gordon scored 15, but he only shot 5-of-16 from the field, and the rest of the bench scored just seven points. Ryan Anderson didn’t score a point in seven minutes and the Rockets will need him to figure things out moving forward.
Shutting Down Mitchell’s Help Is the Best Defensive Plan
There is no denying that Donovan Mitchell will get his points, but the Rockets need to focus on shutting down the players surrounding him. Giving up 27 points to Ingles isn’t going to end well very often. If the Rockets can slow down the supporting cast and put more pressure on Mitchell, they should be able to come away with this series.