James Harden is locked in.
The Houston Rockets brought a five-game win streak into Salt Lake City to face the league-worst Utah Jazz on Monday night. Utah shocked the Rockets for a 109-103 victory. The Jazz led for most of the game and they held off numerous runs by Houston. Meanwhile, the Rockets never found the defense to stop them for long enough.
James Harden erupted for 37 points, his highest total of the season, and dished eight assists. Dwight Howard finished with 15 points and nine boards, but he failed to make his presence felt with any regularity on either end. Francisco Garcia, Omri Casspi and Aaron Brooks each chipped in 13 points with flashes of strong play.
Gordon Hayward led Utah with 29 points on 12-of-18 shooting. Derrick Favors notched a double-double with 14 points and 13 rebounds and made all six of his field-goal attempts. Trey Burke and Alec Burks each added 21 points.
Utah led by 14 points early in the second quarter, but Houston dominated the rest of the half and Utah clung to a 56-53 halftime lead. Utah's hot shooting kept them ahead in the second half, and though the Rockets grabbed slim leads on a couple of occasions, the Jazz kept pouring it on. They shot 54 percent for the game and 10-of-17 from three-point range.
The lowly Jazz have been elevated by the return of rookie point guard Trey Burke after surgery on his finger. They were coming off a road win over the Phoenix Suns and now have their first winning streak of the season, albeit it a very modest two games.
Houston played without Chandler Parsons (back spasms) and Jeremy Lin (knee), and the Jazz looked like the more energetic team throughout the game. The Rockets host Phoenix on Wednesday and will be looking to start another winning streak.