HOUSTON, Texas — The National Basketball Association’s MVP front – runner, James Harden, poured in 29 points, 10 assists and 8 assists to lift the Houston Rockets over the Utah Jazz 122-90 in Game 1 of Western Conference first-round playoff series on Sunday.
“They throw something at him and they might get him a little bit and he figures it out and they don’t get him anymore,” coach Mike D’Antoni said about the defensive strategy on Harden. “He’s so good offensively it makes me laugh. He’s just so good I don’t know what you do … you’re not stopping him. I don’t care what you do.”
The Rockets starting five all reached double figures in scoring — making it difficult to key on Harden. Eric Gordon had 17, Clint Capela scored 16, Chris Paul added 14 and P.J. Tucker had 11.
Seven players in total scored in double figures for Houston — who forced the Jazz into 18 turnovers.
Utah shot just 25.9 percent from the three point line.
.@JHarden13 is having himself a night.
✔️ Unguardable pic.twitter.com/a9HAmCh1fQ
— Houston Rockets (@HoustonRockets) 15 april 2019
Rudy Gobert had 22 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Jazz. Donovan Mitchell had 19 points. Derrick Favors added 13 points. Jae Crowder scored nine points off the bench.
Written by Andrew Mitchell for Woodlawn Post Sports (NBA)
Game 2 is on Wednesday in Houston.