Rockets carry momentum into meeting with Jazz
(SportsNetwork.com) - After beating the best in the West, the Houston Rockets will take on the worst when they face the Utah Jazz Monday night.
The Rockets began a quick trip with Saturday's 112-106 victory over the San Antonio Spurs and squelched a late rally by the hosts to win for the fifth straight time and improve to 8-1 in their last nine.
Houston led by 23 points at one moment and needed a 9-0 run late in the game to keep the Southwest rival Spurs at bay. After James Harden hit a 3-pointer to make 106-106, Patrick Beverley delivered a tie-breaking tip-in and the Rockets never relinquished the lead.
"Oh yeah. It's going to be a dogfight every time we see these guys," said Rockets center Dwight Howard, who had 13 points and 11 rebounds. "And that's what we want. That's going to make us better as a team, and it's going to make it fun for the fans to watch."
Harden finished with 31 points (16 in the fourth quarter), seven boards and six assists, while Chandler Parsons scored 25 points for Houston, which is 5-3 on the road and sits right behind the Spurs for the division lead.
The Rockets played without guard Jeremy Lin for a second straight game because of a knee sprain and he is averaging 15.3 points per game. Lin is expected to miss more than a week of action, while Parsons is doubtful for Monday's game in Salt Lake City with back spasms.
Houston leads the NBA with 109.4 points per game, but is allowing 102.7 ppg.
After the Rockets visit the Jazz, they will return home for three straight games versus Phoenix, Golden State and Orlando.
Utah is in the midst of playing six of eight games at home and still has four of five contests scheduled in Salt Lake City.
The Jazz have won two of three games since a six-game losing streak and improved to 3-15 on the season with Saturday's 112-104 victory at Phoenix in the finale of a home-and-home set. The Suns won Friday's meeting, 112-101.
In the win at US Airways Center, rookie Trey Burke led seven players in double figures with 20 points and made 4-of-6 3-pointers. Richard Jefferson scored 15 points, while Marvin Williams and Derrick Favors had 14 apiece and Gordon Hayward and Alec Burks both ended with 13 points.
"It was a good one for us," Williams said. "Phoenix came out and beat us on our home floor last night and we didn't feel to good about that so we took a look at the film and changed some things this morning and it really worked out for us tonight."
Jeremy Evans capped the double-digit scorers with 12 points for the Jazz, who made 51.3 percent for the game and buried 50 percent from downtown (9-of-18).
The Jazz, who went on a game-ending 14-9 run and outscored the Suns 25-13 in second-chance points, finally earned their first road win of the season (1-9) and are 2-6 as the host.
Utah is one of the lowest scoring teams in the league with 90.5 points per game and dropped a 104-93 home decision versus the Rockets on Nov. 2. Parsons scored 24 points, Harden had 23 and Lin netted 20 in that one for the Rockets, who have won four in a row and seven of the last 10 games in this series.
Houston will host the Jazz March 17 at the Toyota Center.
12/02 10:32:32 ET