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Parsons, Harden lead Rockets over Jazz

Updated: 2013-11-04 08:12
By Associated Press in Salt Lake City ( China Daily)

James Harden ran into what felt like a brick wall and rolled his ankle before crumpling to the floor.

He didn't let that stop him.

After getting fouled hard by Enes Kanter on a fast break in the third quarter and twisting his ankle, Harden shook it off -the same way his Houston Rockets shook off a 19-point deficit and rolled to 104-93 victory over Utah on Saturday night that kept the Jazz winless and the Rockets undefeated.

"I had to block out the pain. We had momentum, especially there in the third quarter. We came out with our defensive intensity at such a high level that I didn't want to let anything slow me down," said Harden, who had 16 of his 23 points in the second half.

Despite his swollen ankle, Harden saved his best for last.

"It was time for me to step up and take over the game. It's that simple," he said.

Chandler Parsons scored 24 points, Jeremy Lin added 20 and the Rockets (3-0) outscored the Jazz 64-37 in the second half.

After John Lucas made a jumper to beat the shot clock and pull the Jazz within 95-90 with 3:27 left, the Rockets allowed just one field goal the rest of the way and Harden ran the pick-and-roll repeatedly down the stretch.

"We got stops and rebounds so we could get out and run," Lin said. "And then a couple guys got hot, and that just becomes contagious."

Kanter made an inside jumper to give Utah its final lead, 85-83, with 7:11 remaining. Harden drove for a layup, Lin hit a 3-pointer and Parsons followed with another basket to start the game-ending run.

Richard Jefferson led Utah with 18 points and Kanter added 16 for the Jazz, who looked disjointed once the Rockets increased their defensive pressure in the second half.

"They came out in the third and played with a lot more energy than we had. They made shots and executed their offense and those guys really took it to us," Utah coach Tyrone Corbin said.

The loss marked the first time the Jazz have started a season with three consecutive defeats since the team opened 0-4 in the 1979-80 season, the year the franchise moved to Utah.

 Parsons, Harden lead Rockets over Jazz

James Harden of the Houston Rockets drives to the hoop as Utah's Rudy Gobert looks on in Salt Lake City on Saturday. Harden had 23 points as the Rockets beat the Jazz 104-93. Rick Bowmer / Associated Press

(China Daily 11/04/2013 page23)