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Rockets showcase what they must: Lockdown D



HOUSTON – The Desperate 36-footer by Donovan Mitchell sailed over the backboard in a miserable moment that epitomized the Utah Jazz's offensive woes in their 122-90 Game 1 loss to the Houston Rockets on Sunday.

Mitchell had no choice but to toss up a prayer just before the shot, which was pelted with the errant shot. The Rockets' aggressive defense had snubbed out every action the jazz attempted on the possession.

"Their physicality defensively disrupted us," Jazz coach Quin Snyder said.

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The Rockets held the Jazz to 39 percent shooting from the floor (7-of-27 from 3-point range) and forced 18 turnovers in the rout. It's the kind of dominant defensive performance that gives the Rockets, a historically elite offensive team, that they are legitimate title contenders. "

" It does not surprise me that we can defend, "Rocket's coach Mike D'Antoni said , "At all."

Houston, one of the NBA's worst defensive teams during the first half of the season, has excelled on that since the All-Star break. Only Utah ranked above Houston in defensive efficiency since the All-Star break, as the Rockets allowed only 105.3 points per possession in that span, a major factor in their league-best 20-5 finish.

"That's what we have to do, "said Rocket's superstar James Harden, who had high points of 29 points and 10 assists. If we do not do that, we do not do it, we just do it

Reserve guard Austin Rivers raised some eyebrows after a March 28 rout of the Denver Nuggets when he declared that the Rockets would win a championship if they continued to play elite defense. That's a houston locker room.

"That's something we always emphasize," said Pisser PJ Tucker, the Rockets' best defender. "When we're aggressive as a team, our defense goes to another level." When you

The jazz was made poorly under duress or had to settle for low-percentage shots in Game 1. With Eric Gordon as his primary defender, Utah go-to guy Donovan Mitchell had a particularly tough night, finishing with 19 points on 7-of-18 shooting with no assists and five turnovers.

"It's one game, and you can learn from it, but I can 't have no assists and five turnovers,' Mitchell said. "I do not care how many minutes you play or whatever." (19659015) "Do you get five turnovers, you have to look at yourself in the mirror and figure out how to adjust."


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