HOUSTON (ABC4 Sports) – It was the best team in the NBA against the worst, and the result was predictable.
Jordan Clarkson scored 22 points, Joe Ingles had 21 and the NBA-leading Utah Jazz beat the Houston Rockets 112-89 on Wednesday night.
The Jazz (44-15) have won four of their last five games, and maintained its game and half lead over the Phoenix Suns for the best record in the Western Conference.
Rudy Gobert had 19 points, 18 rebounds and two blocks for Utah, Mike Conley had 11 points and 13 assists, Bojan Bogdanovic scored 14 points, and Georges Niang added 13. Conley had his fourth straight game with double-digit assists after previously reaching that mark only twice this season.
“I’ve never really been a part of a team like this in my career,” Conley said. “I’ve got a lot of options.”
With Donovan Mitchell out at least the next week with a right ankle sprain, the Jazz are learning how to adjust to playing without its leading scorer. Judging by the last two blowouts, the Jazz are learning well.
“Obviously with Donovan out, we’re going to rely on a lot of different guys,” Conley said. “New faces, new roles, the offense is going to be running a little differently. The defense is going to run a little differently. We’re learning that we’re a deep team and we’re able to be resilient.
“Everyone realizes what he brings to our team,” said Ingles, who made six of ten three-points shots. “So we all know we’ve got to step up. No one is saying it’s on Mike, or it’s on JC, or it’s on me, or whatever name you want to throw out there. We all know as a collective group.”
Clarkson and Ingles are both contenders for the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year Award. While Clarkson provided his usual high-energy spark off the bench, Ingles got the start on Wednesday night.
“I’ve never in my life thought about it,” Ingles said about his front-runner status. “I don’t know if he does. We’ve never had a conversation about it. It doesn’t affect me or my thought going into a game, and I’d feel pretty confident saying the same for (Clarkson). We take pride in our role of coming off the bench.”
John Wall led Houston with 21 points and six assists. Christian Wood had 16 points and eight rebounds, and Kelly Olynyk had 10 points.
The Rockets have lost seven of their last eight and 12 of their last 14. Houston is 4-33 since Feb. 4.
Utah led 34-27 at the end of the first quarter, capped off by a buzzer-beating 3-pointer from Niang. The Jazz led 61-43 at halftime and entered the fourth quarter up 91-63.
The Jazz shot 45.6% from the field, making 17 of 46 from beyond the arc, good for 37%. Houston shot 20.4% from 3-point range, making just 10 of 49 attempts.
The 23-point margin was Utah’s most-lopsided victory over Houston since a 118-91 blowout Dec. 6, 2018.
The Jazz next host Minnesota Saturday night at 7:00 p.m.