Well, that just happened. Facing the number one overall seed in the West on the road, the Utah Jazz evened the series with James Harden and the Houston Rockets behind 27 points from Joe Ingles and a very veteran performance from rookie Donovan Mitchell, who recorded 17 points and 11 assists.
It’s another stunning performance from the team that seems to sneak up on the NBA every season. There’s a reason Houston is the #1 seed and they’ll likely adjust and take the series, but Utah deserves a lot of credit for their ability to defend Harden in this one. He still dropped 32 points on them, but their use of long, athletic defenders like Dante Exum and Royce O’Neale shows Utah has figured out how to slow down The Beard, even if just for a little bit.
The series now moves to Salt Lake City, where the two teams match up on Friday.