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03 May 2018, 02:26 | Percy Christensen
Donovan Mitchell throws down the most vicious dunk of the playoffs so far as Jazz even series with Rockets
His highlight-reel play was certainly the emotional boost the Jazz needed in order to win the game, and now their second-round series is tied 1-1 entering Game 3 which takes place this coming Friday at the Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah. The Jazz came out firing, scoring 36 points in the first quarter despite scoring only 39 points in the first half of Game 1.
Despite a surge in the second and third quarters, the Rockets, who had the best regular-season record in the National Basketball Association, couldn't get back into the game. A team victory. As their star rookie was having his struggles (Donovan Mitchell made only 6 of 21 shots for 17 points, though he paced the team with 11 assists as its primary point guard), the rest of the Jazz stepped up in a big way.
"They came out with had a different game plan and did things differently", Harden said.
The Jazz came into Game 2 expecting to play better. The Aussie hit three triples in the first quarter as the Jazz jumped out ahead, and then he hit two long-range bombs in the fourth quarter to help seal the deal. At the point, everyone watching the game likely felt the Rockets would end up pulling away, but the Jazz finished the game on a 24-14 run in the final eight minutes.
Jazz Coach Quin Snyder was pleased at his team's balanced scoring effort on a night six players finished in double figures, and he raved about the contribution of Ingles.
"He was breaking us down", D'Antoni said.
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"These guys are good", D'Antoni said of the Jazz, who went 29-6 down the stretch of the regular season after falling nine games under.500.
In defence, Exum harassed James Harden and the Rockets' other All-Star guard Chris Paul. Rudy Gobert made one of two free-throw tries before Exum put it out of reach with a dunk.
P.J. Tucker then missed a driving layup, Exum secured the rebound and Ingles made another 3-pointer to give Utah a 12-point lead at 108-96 with 4:27 remaining, and the Rockets couldn't mount a rally from there. And in the second half, as the Rockets were threatening, the Jazz went on a soul-crushing 16-2 run.
After taking just four shots in Game 1 and finishing with 11 points, Gobert got going early Wednesday and had 13 points on 5-for-7 shooting by halftime. From that point, it was about getting to halftime for the Jazz, holding off the inevitable Houston flurry, in whatever form it might take. The Houston Rockets are averaging 110 points on 43.9 percent shooting and allowing 102.9 points on 47.4 percent shooting.
But they didn't make those shots on Wednesday night. He racked up five assists in the first quarter and made excellent reads in the pick-and-roll.
"Just being poised and staying under control was the biggest thing", Mitchell said. "So I said: 'Why come down with it?'"
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