MANILA, Philippines — The Utah Jazz ushered in the second half of the season with a 114-99 win over an undermanned Houston Rockets squad on Friday (Saturday, Manila time).
The league-best squad ended a two-game slump in their first match back from the All-Star break against a nine-man Rockets side, who were affected by injuries and without PJ Tucker. The reliable forward is no longer playing for the team as he seeks a trade.
Donovan Mitchell and the Jazz dominated the Rockets and didn't give up the advantage save for the opening moments of the game.
At one point in the third quarter, Utah had a 23-point lead.
While Houston tried to mount a comeback in the fourth period as they chipped away at the lead, the Jazz were able to recover in time and run away with the win.
Donovan Mitchell had 28 points, eight assists and seven rebounds to pace the Jazz, while Jordan Clarkson had 15 points off of the bench.
Kevin Porter Jr., who was called up from the NBA G League, top-scored for the Rockets with 27 points.
Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Lakers averted disaster against the Indiana Pacers, 105-100.
Despite getting stuck playing catch-up for most of the game, the Lakers were able to mount a scoring run in the fourth quarter to take the advantage heading into crunch time.
The Pacers were within striking distance with nine ticks left on the clock, 100-103, but turned the ball over in their final possession.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope then hit two freebies to put the game out of reach.
Kyle Kuzma led the way for the Lakers — who are still without Anthony Davis — with 24 points and 13 rebounds.
LeBron James, for his part, scored 18 points.
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