Jalen Green scores 34, leads Rockets to 11th straight win with 101-100 victory over Jazz

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Jalen Green scored 30 of his 34 points in the second half and had nine rebounds as the Houston Rockets beat the Utah Jazz 101-100 on Friday night for their 11th straight win.

Fred VanVleet had 22 points, Amen Thompson added 18 points and 14 rebounds, and Jabari Smith Jr. finished with 14 points for the Rockets. Houston scored 27 points off 21 Utah turnovers and outscored the Jazz 25-12 in second-chance points.

Dominating the offensive glass and winning the turnover battle helped the Rockets offset a sluggish start and 38.5% shooting from the field.

“You don’t hang your head when it’s not going easy early,” Houston coach Ime Udoka said. “We were guarding well enough, and we knew the worm would turn as far as the shooting.”

John Collins led Utah with 30 points and 11 rebounds. Collin Sexton added 29 points for the Jazz, who lost their eighth straight game. Kris Dunn finished with 11 points and eight rebounds.

Utah had chances to snap its skid, but ultimately couldn’t overcome multiple careless possessions at critical junctures.

“They got 11 more shots than we did, plus shooting nine more free throws than we did, so we lost the possession battle by a pretty big number tonight,” Jazz coach Will Hardy said. "We’ve got to continue to take care of the ball.”

The Rockets trailed the entire first half but swung momentum their way during a third-quarter scoring outburst from Green.

Green had five of Houston’s first six baskets of the second half to power a 20-7 run that put the Rockets up 61-54 midway through the third quarter. He scored 20 of his team’s 28 points in the quarter.

“We came out running plays for me at the beginning of the third,” Green said. “I was just taking what the defense gives me and shots were falling.”

Utah surged back in front behind a 16-2 run. Sexton fueled the run with a 360-degree dunk and punctuated it with a finger-roll layup that put the Jazz up 74-69.

Houston pulled ahead for good when Green tipped in a layup and knocked down a pair of 3-pointers as part of a 14-3 run. Green’s second 3 gave the Rockets a 92-85 lead with 3:45 left.

Utah cut the deficit to one with 1:21 remaining on a turnaround jumper from Johnny Juzang. VanVleet banked in a pullup jumper and Green hit two free throws in the final 15 seconds to seal the victory.

Green has finished with 30 or more points five times in his last eight games.

“He’s been carrying us pretty much since the All-Star break,” VanVleet said. “We trust him and want to keep giving him the ball in his spots and letting him create. He can get hot.”

Houston sputtered to a season-low 13 points in the first quarter while shooting just 21% from the field over that stretch.

Collins and Sexton combined for six baskets and 21 of Utah’s first 23 points to help the Jazz overcome an 0-of-10 start from 3-point range and take advantage of the Rockets’ early struggles. Their production helped Utah carry a 23-13 lead into the second quarter.

Utah led by 13 points in the first half, going up 39-26 on a pair of 3-pointers from Collins. The Rockets closed the gap before halftime when Smith capped a string of three consecutive Houston baskets with a dunk to make it 43-39.

“It was a little rough around the edges with some attention to detail, but I thought we competed for 48 minutes,” Collins said.


Rockets: hosts Dallas on Sunday.

Jazz: At Sacramento on Sunday.