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Utah Jazz doomed by second-half collapse against Houston

Published November 3, 2013 3:10 pm

After dominating the first two quarters, Jazz fall apart in last two.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

If the Utah Jazz play like they did in the first half of Saturday night's game, center Enes Kanter says, "nobody can beat us."

And if they play like they did in the second half?

Well, it could be a very long season.

The Jazz built up a 19-point lead over the Houston Rockets only to let the visitors affect a 30-point swing to close out the game, sending the crowd at EnergySolutions Arena headed out the doors early, and handing the Jazz a 104-93 loss.

After the game, Jazz coach Ty Corbin said Houston showed its experience in the comeback, while the Jazz showed their lack thereof in the collapse.

"We've got to get better," he said. "We're a young group. We should be in it. We should have more energy. We'll go back to work. It's frustrating learning the same lessons over and over and over again, but that's where we are. We'll keep working and hopefully we'll get better."

The Jazz have opened the season 0-3 for the first time since 1979 — the franchise's first year in Utah — and they've done it in heartbreaking fashion.

The team pushed Oklahoma City to the brink and watched as swingman Gordon Hayward's game-tying buzzer-beater bounced off the rim on opening night. Then on Friday night, Phoenix's Eric Bledsoe hit a game-winning three in the game's dying seconds.

It wasn't the same script against Houston, but it still read like a tragedy for the Jazz.

"We've got to close out games," point guard John Lucas III said. "That's the biggest thing. We've got to close games out. All these games, we've had right there in our hands to win them and we let them slip right through our hands."

Both the Rockets and the Jazz traveled to Salt Lake City late Friday for the second half of a back-to-back. After Kanter, Hayward and Derrick Favors all logged at least 37 minutes in Phoenix, fatigue was a possibility. But the Jazz showed no signs of it in the first half.

Utah jumped out to a 24-16 first quarter lead behind 10 points and six rebounds from Kanter. The Jazz center showed off his pump fake against bigger defenders underneath the glass. Then later, in the pick and roll, he showed off his jumper.

Coming into the night, Houston and the Jazz were the NBA's No. 1 and 2 rebounding teams. In the first half, the Jazz dominated the boards to the tune of 27-12 advantage, helping lead to 16 second-chance points.

The Jazz took a 16-point lead into the locker room, but the second half belonged to the Rockets.

James Harden hit from 3 and laid in a shot on a fast break. Dwight Howard elevated and threw down with both hands. By the time Francisco Garcia hit a 3-pointer over Alec Burks late in the third quarter, the Rockets' 36-15 run had erased the deficit.

Houston was the aggressor in the second half, driving the rim and getting to the foul line 35 times on the night.

Harden and point guard Jeremy Lin finished with 23 and 20 points respectively. Houston's Chandler Parsons scored a game-high 24.

Forward Richard Jefferson led the Jazz with 18 points.

"It's tough," Corbin said. "This league is a difficult league. When you think you've given all you've got and it's just not happening, you get bogged down and it gets compounded and it's right now. … We just have to learn the kind of shape you have to be in. You have to learn the kind of focus you have to have. It's not one or two guys. It's the entire group."

They're lessons Kanter said the team will learn.

"I know down the road, when time goes on," he said, "we're going to learn how to close the games." —

Storylines

O The Rockets trail by as much as 19 points, but wind up with an 11-point win.

• Utah leads 56-40 at the half, but is outscored 64-37 in the second half.

• The Jazz open 0-3 for the first time since 1979, the franchise's first season in Utah. Rockets 104, Jazz 93

FG FT Reb

Houston Min M-A M-A O-T A PF Pts

Parsons 42:17 8-14 6-6 2-12 6 5 24

Howard 37:13 4-8 7-10 2-9 1 3 15

Asik 28:10 2-4 0-0 2-9 0 2 4

Lin 36:23 7-13 4-5 1-3 4 3 20

Harden 43:01 7-15 7-10 1-4 5 4 23

Jones 6:37 1-1 2-2 0-0 0 2 4

Brooks 20:34 1-4 0-0 1-2 0 1 2

Garcia 25:45 4-8 1-2 0-1 0 3 12

Totals 240:00 34-67 27-35 9-40 16 23 104

Percentages: FG .507, FT .771. 3-Point Goals: 9-22, .409 (Garcia 3-6, Parsons 2-4, Lin 2-5, Harden 2-6, Brooks 0-1). Team Rebounds: 6. Team Turnovers: 18 (17 PTS). Blocked Shots: 7 (Asik 2, Howard 2, Harden, Lin, Parsons). Turnovers: 18 (Harden 5, Parsons 4, Lin 3, Asik 2, Brooks 2, Howard 2). Steals: 6 (Harden 3, Asik, Howard, Lin). Technical Fouls: Defensive three second, 11:41 second.

FG FT Reb

Utah Min M-A M-A O-T A PF Pts

Jeffersn 27:06 5-11 6-6 1-5 0 3 18

Favors 33:00 3-7 6-8 2-6 0 2 12

Kanter 33:43 7-13 2-2 5-8 1 3 16

Tinsley 14:15 0-2 0-0 0-1 2 3 0

Hayward 38:10 7-16 0-2 2-5 2 3 15

Gobert 8:49 0-0 2-2 0-2 0 4 2

Lucas III 30:50 5-11 1-1 3-5 4 2 11

Burks 34:09 6-16 2-4 1-3 2 2 15

Harris 19:58 1-5 2-2 1-4 1 3 4

Totals 240:00 34-81 21-27 15-39 12 25 93

Percentages: FG .420, FT .778. 3-Point Goals: 4-22, .182 (Jefferson 2-5, Burks 1-4, Hayward 1-5, Harris 0-1, Tinsley 0-2, Lucas III 0-5). Team Rebounds: 9. Team Turnovers: 15 (13 PTS). Blocked Shots: 6 (Favors 2, Burks, Gobert, Harris, Kanter). Turnovers: 15 (Jefferson 3, Favors 2, Gobert 2, Harris 2, Kanter 2, Tinsley 2, Burks, Hayward). Steals: 9 (Burks 3, Favors 2, Harris 2, Gobert, Tinsley). Technical Fouls: Jefferson, 6:26 second.

Houston 16 24 33 31 — 104

Utah 24 32 17 20 — 93

Attendance • 19,498

Time • 2:20.

Officials • Scott Foster, Derrick Collins, Haywoode Workman.