Rick Bowmer / Associated Press
The Houston Rockets overcame a historically tough shooting night by James Harden to take a 3-0 lead in the series over the Utah Jazz with a 104-101 victory in Game 3 on Saturday.
Harden (22 points and 10 badists) He managed a double double despite missing his first 15 shot attempts. Chris Paul contributed 18 points to the cause.
Donovan Mitchell had 34 Points in a losing effort for jazz.
The support cast of Rockets proves its value through the struggles of Harden
Harden played a key role in helping Houston reach a 2-0 lead in the series, but as he endured one of his hardest shooting nights, his cast cast proved his worth.
The reigning MVP of the league entered the game with an average of 30.5 points and 44 percent of the first two games. However, he could not buy a basket in the first half of Game 3, since he went 0-for-10 from the field and 0-for-5 from beyond the goal.
James Harden was 0-10 from the field in the first half.
The last player to go 0-10 or worse in the first half of a playoff game was Michael Jordan in the 1997 Eastern Conference Finals (0-11 FG). https://t.co/kTLVIBicEh
He still managed six points thanks to his ability to get to the free throw line, but it was clear that he was not his typical self from the start.
Despite an approximate first half of their best player, the Rockets entered at halftime only five.
Have a stellar fight that could represent a team in a big hole, especially on the road. But Rockets role players kept the team afloat.
The Houston players who did not call themselves Harden shot 17 of 36 (47.2 percent) in the first half. Each of the other eight players who entered the game in the first half made at least one field goal, with a total of six players who won at least one trey.
In particular, Chris Paul picked up his All-Star teammate with 5 of 9 and threw a pair of triples on the way to 12 points in the first half.
Things would not go much better for Harden after the break, either. The two-time defending champion did not make a shot until there were only more than seven minutes left in the game, losing his first 15 attempts.
Michael Lee @MrMichaelLee
James Harden has missed so many unmarked shots, I hope he gets lost in the majesty of all this. This is a legendary fault.
Ben Golliver @BenGolliver
Worst% of FG in a playoff game, last 30 seasons
– Minimum: 20 shot attempts.
1. 1997 Karl Malone: 2-20 (10%)
2. 2003 Kenyon Martin: 2-23 (13%)
t-3. 2000 Vince Carter: 3-20 (15%)
t-3. 2002 Paul Pierce: 3-20 (15%)
t-3. 2019 James Harden: 3-20 (15%)
Meanwhile, he also had to deal with fouling problems, recovering his fourth foul at the start of the third.
Obviously, it was a night of rest for Harden, but the Rockets found a way to stay in the game thanks to their cast. In fact, they were victorious when Harden finally broke his drought with a dunk at the beginning of the room.
Paul was not the only one who contributed either. Clint Capela (11 points and 14 rebounds), PJ Tucker (10), Eric Gordon (12) and Austin Rivers (11) They all found ways to put points on the board.
That team effort gave Harden the time to try to shoot himself out of his depression. While he was finally unable to do so On this night (3-for-20), his teammates not only threw in the towel.
Of course, Houston has virtually no chance to dethrone the Golden State Warriors if Harden fires as he did Saturday night. But coach Mike D & # 39; Antoni should be encouraged by what he saw in the cast.
Donovan Mitchell Hero Ball can not save the jazz season
Mitchell was able to get rid of an approximate performance of Game 2 to propel the Jazz to an early lead in Game 3. However, he can not defeat the Rockets on his own.
That became clear on Saturday.
The second-year star finished the regular season on a strong note, throwing 46.1 percent from the field and 45.1 percent from the three-point range from the All-Star break. I had not been able to take that momentum to the postseason, until the start of Game 3.
Coming out of a 5-for-19 performance that saw him racking up only 11 points in a 20-point loss in Game 2, Mitchell wasted no time in proving he was ready to change things in the comfort of his local stadium. He awoke the Jazz to an early lead by leaving by 13 points on 5 of the 7 shots while playing 11 minutes in the first quarter.
Donovan Mitchell (13 PTS) and Rudy Gobert (5 PTS, 4 BLK) are in the 1st quarter of Game 3 of @utahjazz!
#NBAPlayoffs on @ESPNNBA https://t.co/5oSeBEvaGH
That strong start put everyone on notice:
NBA bleach report @BR_NBA
Donovan Mitchell in Game 2:
5-19 by 11 PTS
Spida in the first quarter of Game 3:
5-7 for 13 PTS https://t.co/OayVqCYqzy
He finished the first half with 21 points.
On a night when Derrick Favors was the only other Utah player in double figures up to three quarters, having Mitchell at the front of the team proved key. He also exposed Utah's dependence on its star when it cooled.
Mitchell went through a stretch of missing 11 consecutive shots from the floor in the span of two full quarters. He managed to score seven points in the last 94 seconds to give his team the chance of a potential draw in the bucket.
However, he was unable to get the victory coming from behind, essentially alone.
Utah will need Joe Ingles (eight points, 2 of 8 of the range of three points in Game 3), among others, to play better and to really have the chance to win the series. Having Mitchell recapture his magic from the first quarter would give the Jazz the opportunity to compete, but It will be difficult for him to lead his team to four consecutive victories playing a hero's ball.
Houston will have the opportunity to try to close the series on Monday, with Game 4 at the Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City at 10:30 p.m. ET