Fred Faour: 5 observations from the Rockets' 116-108 loss to Utah in Game 2
The Rockets have been playing with fire with slow starts throughout the playoffs. It came back to bite them big time in Wednesday's 116-108 loss to the Jazz. The series now heads to Utah tied 1-1. Five quick thoughts on Wednesday's game:
Die by the 3: The Rockets are supposed to dominate at the 3-point line. That was not the case in Game 2. They hit just 10 of 37 from 3. Meanwhile, the Jazz hit 15 of 32. That was the difference in the game.
Another slow start: The Rockets once again failed to answer the bell, building yet another big hole. They came back in the third quarter, but were not able to withstand their charge. They had plenty of chances in the fourth quarter, but missed shot after shot.
Off the bench: For the second straight game, the Jazz bench dominated the Rockets bench, outscoring them 41-22.
Outshot: The Rockets hit just 40 percent from the field. The Jazz shot 51.2 percent and got several open looks. Besides struggling with shooting, the Rockets did not play good defense, which helped the Jazz shoot over 50 percent. Joe Ingles scored 27 on 7 of 9 3-point shooting, 10 of 13 overall.The result was an ugly defeat.
Struggling stars: James Harden scored 32, but hit just 9 of 22 shots. He was 2 of 10 on 3s. Chris Paul scored 23, but was only 8 of 19. Clint Capela scored an efficient 21, but the only other player in double figures was Eric Gordon, who hit just 5 of 16 shots for 15 points. Capela was the only Rocket to shoot over 50 percent.
The bottom line: This was an ugly game, and the Rockets gave up home court. But it is hard to imagine they will play another game this bad in the series. If so? Then it gets interesting.