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Undefeated Rockets visit 0-2 Jazz
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Houston Rockets are aiming for a 3-0 start and the Utah Jazz are looking to avoid a rare 0-3 hole when the two clubs collide Saturday night in Salt Lake City.
The Rockets haven't started 3-0 since the 2008-09 season and have beaten Charlotte and Dallas to open the new campaign. Dwight Howard and James Harden have formed a dangerous combo so far and the two combined for 47 points in Friday's 113-105 victory versus the Mavericks. Harden made 11-of-17 shots for 34 points and Howard added 13 and 16 rebounds.
"That's what (other teams) want to do is slow us up. ... We just have to keep up the ball movement and keep attacking the space (on the court)," Harden told the team's website. "Like I said, I just wanted to be aggressive and get out in transition before the zone (defense) can get set up."
Harden showed no ill effects from a stiff back sustained Wednesday
Jeremy Lin and Aaron Brooks scored 14 and 13 points, respectively, for Houston, which made 46.6 percent for the game and posted a 51-43 advantage on the glass.
All news wasn't good for the Rockets, as the team announced before Friday's win that starting point guard Patrick Beverley will miss at least 10-14 days with a partially torn muscle in his midsection.
It's been a long time since the Jazz started 0-3. The last time that occurred was back in 1979-80 under head coach Tom Nissalke, whose squad began the year 0-4 in the first season at Utah. Adrian Dantley was the star of the team, which just moved from New Orleans.
The Jazz dropped their season opener to the Oklahoma City Thunder, then suffered an 87-84 setback at Phoenix Friday night. Enes Kanter had 20 points and 12 rebounds, Gordon Hayward posted 18 points, 10 boards and eight assists and Alec Burks donated 15 points off the bench in defeat.
Jazz big man Derrick Favors pumped in 14 points and grabbed 17 rebounds for the Jazz, who shot just 36.5 percent from the floor and gave up 22 points on 21 turnovers. The Jazz had a chance at the end after an Eric Bledsoe basket made it 87-84 with 0.7 seconds to go, as Hayward, who had hit a 25-footer to tie the game at 84-84 with 23 seconds left, stepped out of bounds after getting the ball.
Hayward had a chance for a big shot in the season opener, but came up short.
"We gotta get ourselves good looks," Hayward said. "Everything is tough down the stretch."
After hosting the Rockets, Utah will head east for four games against Brooklyn, Boston, Chicago and Toronto.
Houston won three of four meetings with Utah last season, but has lost six of its previous nine trips to Salt Lake City.
11/02 10:51:53 ET