On Thursday morning following a Game 2 loss to the Utah Jazz, the Houston Rockets expressed little concern in surrendering home-court advantage in this Western Conference semifinals series.

Houston players and coaches said the Jazz lulled them to sleep, and a successful Game 3 on Friday night was as simple as playing 48 minutes of focused basketball. The Rockets said their problems didn’t stem from anything the Jazz did. Rather, they needed to play the way they normally did.

As it turns out, they were correct.

The Rockets strutted into Vivint Smart Home Arena on Friday night and took a 2-1 series lead, walloping the Jazz 113-92 in front of a sellout crowd that arrived for a party, but saw a good old fashioned whipping instead.

It wasn’t merely a loss for the Jazz. It was the kind of defeat that can take their soul for the remainder of the series if Sunday’s Game 4 isn’t different. Utah had the lead once, 3-0 on a Joe Ingles 3-pointer on the first possession of the game. The Rockets dominated from that point, running off the next eight points on the way to a 21-7 lead.

It was 39-22 at the end of the first quarter. It was 70-40 at halftime. And that wasn’t the biggest lead of the game for the Rockets, who reminded the Jazz on every possession of their season-long mastery of the NBA. The Rockets were determined defensively, not allowing Utah to run good sets or to generate good shots.

The Rockets were equally as dominant offensively, with James Harden (25 points, 12 assists and four rebounds) and Chris Paul showing veteran command of every possession. They played Utah like puppets, breaking into the paint off the dribble at will, finding shots for themselves or setting up teammates for wide open looks. One of the loudest arenas in the league during this postseason sat on its hands as the Rockets made shot after shot, the lead swelling with each torturous possession.

“We just played harder tonight,” Harden said. “Schemes and all that stuff is cool. But we played harder. We played for each other.”

At its apex, Houston held a 38-point lead. After the Ingles 3-pointer, the Jazz made one meaningful run during the remainder of the night, a string of nine consecutive points in the second quarter that brought them within 49-34. The Rockets quickly answered that with a run of their own and the game was non-competitive the rest of the way.

In taking the series lead, Houston showed why it won 65 games this season, earning the top playoff seed in the Western Conference. The Rockets put five players in double-figures, led by Harden and Eric Gordon’s 25 points.

They also flummoxed Utah star rookie Donovan Mitchell, forcing him into his worst game in months. Mitchell was 4 of 16 shooting from the field, scoring 10 points. He had three assists and one rebound in 31 minutes. Houston harassed him into bad shots and turnovers, and never allowed him space to find his jumper. They matched every step off the dribble, and the Jazz offense looked like a sailboat without a rudder.

“I didn’t really do much as a whole,” Mitchell said. “Like, I wasn’t there. That can’t happen. It’s like I would’ve been better off just not showing up. And that’s what I did today. I didn’t show up at all for my teammates. And I’ll fix it.”

In Game 2, Utah coach Quin Snyder made expert adjustments, leading to a surprise Jazz win. In Game 3, it was Houston coach Mike D’Antoni who made the adjustments.

Personnel-wise, D’Antoni kept Gordon on the floor with Paul and Harden much more than he had in the first two games. Having an extra creator in the lineup made Houston’s offense much more difficult for the Jazz to contain.

And D’Antoni went with more isolations and 1-4 sets offensively, clearing space at the top of the key and keeping guys on the baseline. This almost completely negated the defensive presence of Jazz center Rudy Gobert.

If the Jazz are to win Game 4 — or even be competitive — they may have to do so without Derrick Favors, who left in the third quarter after spraining his ankle. And the task of not allowing Houston’s Game 3 dominance seep into Sunday may be arduous, because it will take mental fortitude for the Jazz to move on in less than 48 hours.

Royce O’Neale led Utah with 17 points and five rebounds, his best playoff game so far. But he was the only Jazzman to play well in a game where the team and an entire state seemed overwhelmed by the visitors.

“I thought our defense was superb tonight,” D’Antoni said. “We were hitting shots all over the place. We kept the crowd out of it, kept them on their heels and you could just see the guys feeding off of good defense.”