Harden's 33 points lead Rockets to victory

Fri Jan 8, 2016 1:47am EST
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(The Sports Xchange) - James Harden tallied a game-high 33 points and the Houston Rockets wrangled control in the second half by quickening the tempo to surge past the Utah Jazz 103-94 on Thursday at Toyota Center.

The Rockets (18-19) scored 64 second-half points while shooting 65.7 percent from the floor to erase what was once a seven-point deficit. Houston produced 12 fast-break points following the intermission, 10 in the third quarter, to set the pace.

"I think we were playing for the most part pretty well defensively, offensively we were too slow," Harden said of the first half. "We wanted to put an emphasis on pushing the basketball, getting stops and just running out."

With the Jazz (15-20) fighting to remain in contention, Harden drilled a step-back elbow jumper with 2:46 remaining before adding a driving layup with 1:51 left to keep the advantage at 96-90.

He finished 13-for-25 from the floor despite missing all seven of his three-point attempts.

Terrence Jones chipped in 14 points and eight rebounds, while Jason Terry and Marcus Thornton scored 12 points apiece off the Houston bench.

Harden added eight rebounds and two of the Rockets' 11 steals. Houston scored 16 points off 19 Utah turnovers.

"When you turn a team over you've got to take advantage of it," interim coach J.B. Bickerstaff said "You've got to get out on the floor. You've got to push.

"In the second half ... we committed to that and it was effective."   Continued...

Jan 7, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) drives as he splits the defense of Utah Jazz forward Chris Johnson (23) and guard Raul Neto (25) in the second half at Toyota Center. Rockets won 103 to 94.  USA TODAY Sports -