This whole thing could have been worse from a Jazz perspective, considering the Houston Rockets scored 50 points in one quarter of their playoff series with Minnesota last week and the Jazz totaled only 54 in Game 3 vs. Chicago in the 1998 NBA Finals.

Friday’s Game 3 of the Western Conference semifinals was bad enough, though. The Jazz’s proud defense allowed 70 points in the first half of a 113-92 defeat at Vivint Smart Home Arena.

If you’re wondering, this was not a case of the Rockets’ hitting all kinds of outside shots. Houston made 19 of 25 attempts from 2-point range in the half. Imagine what this exercise may have looked like if the Jazz didn’t have the probable NBA Defensive Player of the Year in their lineup.

Rudy Gobert was powerless to stop Houston’s inside attack, with his teammates doing nothing to slow down the Rockets’ drivers.

“I didn’t think anybody really did their job defensively,” Jazz coach Quin Snyder said, “and it showed.”

That was true even on Twitter, with “Rockets 70” trending highly.

The Jazz’s offense was not much better than their defense, with Houston coach Mike D’Antoni countering the Jazz’s moves. Afterward, D’Antoni laughed when the word “adjustments” framed the first question of the postgame news conference.

“We adjusted our attitude and spirit and energy,” he said. “Our defense was superb.”

The Jazz’s overall showing? Something other than superb, that’s for sure.

Wow. What a letdown. If a reasonable goal for the Jazz was merely avoiding a sweep in this series, they’ve succeeded. Yet the thing about Wednesday’s Game 2 win at Houston is it seemingly created all kinds of possibilities for the Jazz. My review framed that breakthrough as the franchise’s most meaningful win in more than a decade.

And they followed that performance with this effort?

Maybe it was all a cosmic response to some Jazz fans’ glee about Philadelphia rookie Ben Simmons scoring one point in Thursday’s loss to Boston. Donovan Mitchell went 1 of 10 in the first half, scoring two points (he finished with 10 points).

Even so, Jazz fans deserved something better than being subjected to watching their team trail by 37 points after 28 minutes of basketball. The Jazz gave them three memorable home-court victories in the first-round series vs. Oklahoma City. Yet other than David Stockton’s scoring his first playoff basket, not much was redeeming about Friday’s exercise – especially considering how ticket prices rise in every playoff round.

To paraphrase “Caddyshack” philosopher Carl Spackler, the Rockets’ kidding around is pretty much over.

Is it possible the Jazz needed to be humbled at some point in the postseason, to realize they have much more to do in an effort to join the NBA’s elite level? As general manager Dennis Lindsey likes to say, “The results always tell you the truth.”

That quote fit nicely in the Game 2 account, but it applies equally to Game 3. The only question at this point is whether the Jazz can summon anything better for Game 4. Otherwise, their season probably will end with Tuesday’s Game 5 in Houston — and they will have lost their last home game of every postseason appearance since 2000.

One theme of the Jazz’s 2018 playoffs going Friday’s contest was how volatile these games have been, with big runs by each team in both series. “I think it happens because we are playing really explosive teams,” Snyder said before Game 3. “We’ve played teams that are capable of scoring in bunches.”

In Game 2 in Houston, the Jazz lost an 18-point advantage in six minutes spanning halftime, but they took command in the fourth quarter with a 16-2 burst. As Lindsey said on the Jazz’s radio station, “They responded, and we responded to their response.”

Any emotional swing is magnified in the playoffs, and the momentum-changing sequences were almost dizzying. “I think we have been able to sustain some of those things and respond, because of who we are,” Snyder said. “There is a resiliency about these guys that’s like when you live through something … there is a sense that we have been here before. There is something we can do about it.”

They didn’t do much about it Friday, after Houston’s 32-12 start. The Jazz’s only flash of competence came after the Rockets stormed to a 49-25 lead. Royce O’Neale’s flurry of seven points topped a 9-0 Jazz run.

Houston answered with a 21-6 burst to close the half at 70-40. In the second half, things became even worse for the Jazz before they got any better.

D’Antoni already knew the answers when he asked this question after Game 3: “We put ourselves in a little bit of a hole. We’re going to have to respond. Do we have that in us?”

Apparently so, judging by Friday’s outcome. Coming Sunday: The Jazz’s response, whatever it may be.