Rockets hand Jazz worst home loss, 125-80

Associated Press  |  Last updated January 29, 2013
James Harden scored 25 points and the Houston Rockets rolled by the Jazz 125-80 on Monday night, handing Utah its worst home loss in franchise history. The Jazz had won six straight at home but simply couldn't keep pace in transition. They were outscored 26-2 on the break and shot just 39.5 percent. Their previous worst was by 33 points to Milwaukee on Nov. 18, 1980. Carlos Delfino and Marcus Morris each hit four 3-pointers for Houston, which made 16 of 34 from beyond the arc. Omer Asik had 19 rebounds as the Rockets (25-22) won their third straight. Houston led by 21 points in the second, by 35 in the third and kept pouring it on fourth. Randy Foye led Utah with 12 points. The Jazz hardly looked like the team that had won nine of their previous 12. They fell behind by nine early but rallied to tie it at 22 late in the first. After that it was all Houston, prompting fans to boo and head for the exits early in the third quarter. At one point, Houston hit three straight 3-pointers, two by Morris and another by Harden, who took a seat on the bench with the rest of the Rockets starters the entire fourth. Morris opened the fourth with another 3 just to put an exclamation point on the night. The Rockets led by as many as 21 points in the second, thanks to aggressive moves to the rim by Harden and the 3-point shooting of Delfino. Harden had 18 points by halftime and Delfino 14 in just 12 minutes off the bench as he hit his first four 3-pointers. The Jazz scored 39 points in the first half. Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson were a combined 0 for 7 to start and 5 of 18 at halftime. By then it was over. To think the Rockets had a hard time even getting to Utah. A blizzard had them grounded Sunday night in Grand Junction, Colo. They arrived in Salt Lake City early enough for Jeremy Lin to slip in for the last screening of the documentary ''Linsanity'' during the Sundance Film Festival. The movie premiered about a year after Lin began catapulting to worldwide stardom in New York. He was an afterthought only a month before, cut by the Rockets on Christmas Day and claimed by the Knicks off waivers. He only took five shots Monday, but hit them all to finish with 12 points. Chandler Parsons and Patrick Patterson each added 12. Morris finished with 16 points and Delfino 14. Jefferson added 10 points for Utah but shot just 5 of 14. The Rockets jumped out to a 15-6 lead as they hit 7 of 9 shots to open. The Jazz were without third-leading scorer Gordon Hayward, who sprained his right shoulder late in Saturday's overtime win over Indiana. He had been averaging 14.5 points and shooting 47.1 percent from beyond the arc during the month. It was the first game he did not play since his rookie season three years ago. Even he probably couldn't have made a difference in this one. NOTES: Eighty-nine-year-old Wataru Misaka, the first player of Asian descent to play in the NBA, was at Monday's game to watch Lin warm up. Misaka, once discriminated against because of his Japanese ancestry, recalled writing Lin a note of encouragement ''when he was with Oakland back in the dark days when things didn't look too good for him. He didn't have all these fans at this time but he's made a lot of progress since then and I think he's in a much better place now.'' Misaka, who lives in nearby Bountiful, is a former point guard who played for the New York Knicks in the 1947-48 season and led the University of Utah to the 1944 NCAA championship. ''He broke a lot of barriers and racial stereotypes,'' Lin told the Houston Chronicle of Misaka. ''You have to pay respect to the people who came before you.'' Lin is the first American-born NBA player of Chinese or Taiwanese descent.
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