James Harden torches Jazz for career-high 56 points


HOUSTON (ABC4 Sports) – James Harden made sure the Utah Jazz did not pick up its first road victory of the season Sunday night.

Harden scored a career-high 56 points and added 13 assists in just 35 minutes to lead the Houston Rockets to a 137-110 victory over the Jazz.

Harden finished 19 of 25 from the field after missing his last three attempts. The MVP runner-up was a perfect 7 for 7 from beyond the arc until he missed a step-back 3-pointer midway through the fourth quarter as the shot clock was about to expire.

Even when the Jazz could deny Harden his shot, he dished it off for someone else to score. Eric Gordon scored 20 points, Trevor Ariza had 14 and Nene scored 13 off the bench.

The Rockets shot 59.3 percent from the field.

“Disappointed obviously in our group and our performance, particularly defensively, there just wasn’t enough resistance, wasn’t enough toughness and as much as anything, we made so many mental mistakes,” head coach Quin Snyder said. “Give Houston credit, James Harden in particular, he’s a great player and he showed that, he showed why he’s a great player tonight.”

Seven Jazz players scored in double figures, led by Donovan Mitchell with 17 points. But the defense was the problem, allowing a 39-point first quarter and a 48-point third quarter.

Harden received a standing ovation from the Toyota Center crowd, which rained down “MVP! MVP!” chants at multiple points during the game. He had 22 points in both the first and third quarters, 30 at halftime and sat for the final 7:32 of the blowout.

Rudy Gobert added 13 points, but was held to a season-low five rebounds in 25 minutes. Derrick Favors and Rodney Hood each added 12 points, Joe Ingles had 11, while Ricky Rubio and Alec Burks each scored 10 points.

The Rockets have won three straight, while the Jazz have lost back-to-back games following a three-game winning streak.

Houston scored at least 119 points for a third straight game. Last season, the Rockets were 43-5 when scoring 110 points or more and 12-22 when failing to do so.

Utah next hosts the Philadelphia 76ers on Tuesday night at 7:00 p.m.

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