Houston Rockets were without both James Harden and Russell Westbrook on Monday night against Utah Jazz, but it didn’t matter in the end. In the absence of the team’s superstars, Eric Gordon stepped in and scored 50 points to lead the Rockets to an unlikely 126-117 win.
Considering that the Rockets were playing a back-to-back game, Westbrook sat down as part of his load management. Harden was previously out with a thigh contusion, while the team was also short-handed on center, as starter Clint Capela dealt with a heel contusion. Jazz, on the other hand, were in full strength and have won 19 out of their last 21 games.
Despite this, Rockets managed to get off to a good start, playing with a small lineup that gave Utah a lot of problems. Houston was effective in getting to the free-throw line, shooting 49 free throws and making 35. Gordon, who finished the game with 50 points, six rebounds, three assists, and two steals, alone got to the 20 times, compared to Jazz’s 26 attempts as a unit.
Gordon was happy with his performance after the game, saying he was “getting back to being” himself after the knee surgery he had back in November.
“I feel like I’m getting back to being myself,” said Gordon. “I told everybody when you have surgery during the season, it’s always going to be a process.”
Austin Rivers and Danuel House Jr. also did their part, scoring 21 points each to lift the Rockets to 29-17 record.
Jazz, on the other hand, saw a big scoring night from Donovan Mitchell, who scored 36 points to go with three rebounds, four assists, and three steals. Bojan Bogdanovic added 30 points and two assists while Rudy Gobert had 12 points and 14 rebounds.