HOUSTON, Texas -- The Utah Jazz had little time to rest and were without the services of Ricky Rubio as they took on the Rockets in Game 1 of the Western Conference Semifinals Sunday.
James Harden scored 41 points to lead the Houston Rockets to a 110-96 win over the Utah Jazz.
"He's a special player," said Jazz Head Coach Quin Snyder on Harden. "He impacts the game in so many ways, you have to try to make it harder for him in so many facets, and it requires your whole team to guard him because he's so capable of finding any weakness in a given situation."
The Rockets built a 27-point lead in the first half to take control of the game. The Jazz did cut the lead to 11 in the fourth quarter, but that's as close as they would get.
"I think for us as a whole, not just myself, we kind of got stagnant with the ball," said Jazz Guard Donovan Mitchell. "They started switching, and we really didn't figure it out until the second half and I think obviously we didn't have a lot of time to prepare for that. The second half we started moving the ball and our looks started to get easier."
Mitchell and Jae Crowder led the Jazz with 21 points apiece. Joe Ingles scored 15 points, and Rudy Gobert added 11 points.
"We haven't given up all year and we don't plan on doing it now," Crowder said. "We know this is not going to be easy, the road to where we want to be is a championship. We're not going to give up, we're just going to keep playing and figure it out."
Game 2 is Wednesday in Houston.