HOUSTON — Lauri Markkanen scored a career-high 49 points as the Utah Jazz recorded a five-game skid in Thursday night’s 131-114 win over the Houston Rockets.
Markkanen got off to a quick start by scoring 18 in the first quarter, helping the Jazz to an early lead. Houston took the lead late in the 3rd quarter, but Utah ended that quarter with his 10-0 lead for good.
With about five minutes remaining, an 8-2 run cut Utah’s lead to five. Jordan Clarkson hit a 3-pointer shortly after, and Markkanen’s chipped shot extended the lead to 117-107.
After Jalen Green added a basket for Houston, Markkanen scored the next four points to get the Jazz to start 14-0 and go 131-109, sending fans streaming for an ejection.
After scoring the first four points of the run, Markkanen added back-to-back three points at the end of the run. But they were disappointed when their last three-point attempt to give him 50 points missed the mark.
Green scored 30 points and Kevin Porter Jr. added 23 for the Rockets on a six-game losing streak.
Markkanen’s highest scoring game on Thursday was 38, which he has achieved twice, most recently against Detroit on December 20. He made six of his 3-pointers and all 13 of his free throws on Thursday night, surpassing his best game to date.
Utah had a 12-point lead early in the fourth quarter after Ochai Agbazi’s 3-pointer. Green then moved on to Houston, where an 8-2 run saw him score six points and with about eight minutes left, he cut the lead to 105-99. A green cap that stretches with a one-handed dunk.
Utah scored the next five points and then scored another three from Agbazi to make it 110-99 less than a minute later.
The Rockets cut the lead to 70-67 with three runs from Green and Jabari Smith Jr. to cut the lead to 70-67 with about nine minutes remaining in the third quarter. However, the Jazz scored his next eight on Markkanen’s five and pushed him up to 78-67 minutes later with the help of a Rockets turnover.
Houston scored the next eight points and again came within three for Alperen Seguin’s final five points with about six minutes remaining in the third.
The Jazz took their first lead of the second half soon after, making it 86–85 in an 11–3 spurt for the Rockets after trailing by seven after Clarkson’s jump shot. Porter and Jeshaun Tate won the run with back-to-back 3s to put Houston on top.
The Rockets didn’t come out on top until Utah scored the final 10 points of the quarter and took a 95-86 lead going into the 4th quarter on 3-pointers from Malik Beasley and Mike Conley.
Jazz: Clarkson has 19 points… Conley has 9 points and 11 assists. … Beasley off the bench he scored 19 points.
Rockets: Tate scored 11 points in his comeback after missing 31 games with a sore right ankle. …Sengun had 20 points and 14 rebounds. … Eric Gordon he had 12 points.
Jazz: Let’s go to Chicago on Saturday night.
The Rockets: Host Sunday night in Minnesota.
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