SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The combination of shooting guard Donovan Mitchell, small forward Jae Crowder and point guard Ricky Rubio helped the Utah Jazz beat the Houston Rockets 107-91 in Game 4 of the Western Conference playoffs on Monday.
This was the Jazz’s first win of the best-of-seven series which the Rockets are dominating with a 3-1 advantage.
Game 5 will be played Wednesday at the Toyota Center in Houston, where the Rockets will have the second chance to secure their pass into the semifinals.
Mitchell once again emerged as the Jazz’s leader of the attack by scoring 31 points, including 19 in the decisive fourth quarter.
Crowder, who was placed by Jazz coach Quin Snyder as a starter, scored 23 points, including three triples, captured four rebounds and recovered two balls.
Rubio became a key player in the Jazz’s attack at the end of the match with a double-double of 18 points and 11 assists.
He scored 6 out of 17 field shots with 1 of 7 triple attempts, and hit 5 out of 6 from the free throw line, in addition to capturing three rebounds – two defensive – recovered a ball, lost three and committed three fouls.
Power forward Derrick Favors scored a double-double of 12 points and 11 rebounds, which left him as the leader of the Jazz inside the paint.
At a post game press conference Rockets’ coach Mike D’Antoni said “I thought we were sloppy and didn’t rebound the ball (...) we didn’t play very smart. We just did things that were uncharacteristic (...) (Jazz) hit their shots; we didn’t.”
“They were the more aggressive team. They came out like, you know, they didn’t want to die. They did a heck of a job being the aggressors early in the first quarter,” D’Antoni said about the Jazz.
Rockets’ star shooting guard, James Harden, scored 30 points, including six triples but failed to perform much inside the paint with just three rebounds, four assists and regaining two balls.
The Jazz had their strongest offensive support during the first quarter with Rubio and Crowder who scored 25 points combined after scoring 9 out of 11 field shots, allowing the Utah team to stand ahead on the scoreboard with an over-10 point advantage.
In the beginning of the fourth quarter the Jazz had a 15-1 run and ended the quarter with a 31-12 partial and an eventual victory.