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Hot-shooting Jazz blast the Rockets, 120-101

SALT LAKE CITY — Almost everything went right for the Utah Jazz on Tuesday night.

They shot the lights out from 3-point range, hitting 15 of 28 long bombs.

They got big games from Gordon Hayward, Rudy Gobert and Rodney Hood.

They received some timely assistance from the bench, especially Trey Lyles, Joe Johnson and Shelvin Mack.

They even held James Harden in check.

In doing all of that, the Jazz also avenged a somewhat ugly loss in Houston a week and a half ago, stretching their winning streak to four games with a 120-101 victory at Vivint Arena.

“This was a really good win for us, especially with the late arrival here this morning coming from Minnesota,” said Hayward, whose team beat the T-Wolves 112-103 on Monday.

“This was a game we could’ve let them get out to a 20-point lead, and the Rockets are capable of that,” the Jazz small forward added. “I thought we did really well finding the energy, finding the will to compete tonight. It’s a good win.”

There was one unfortunate happening that made this an almost-everything-went-right night.

Another injury.

This time, the basketball injury gods took aim at Hood, who exited the game in the third quarter and didn’t return because of a strained right hamstring. The severity of the injury was not shared by the team.

Hood helped the Jazz get off to a good start, scoring 13 of his 19 points in the first quarter as Utah took a 38-29 lead.

His teammates had his back after he left early in the second half.

Hayward finished with a season-high 31 points, seven assists and five rebounds. Gobert contributed 16 points, 14 rebounds and three blocked shots. The Jazz bench provided a lift, too, as Lyles added 13 points, Johnson scored 11 and Mack chipped in with nine.

As a team, the Jazz shot 55.4 percent, including the season-high-tying barrage from deep. Hayward, Hood and Johnson each netted three triples apiece.

“We made shots. Sometimes it’s as simple as that,” Jazz coach Quin Snyder said. “I feel like we’ve been getting some pretty good looks. Tonight the ball went into the basket.”

In a rarity, that wasn’t the case for Harden.

The MVP candidate, who switched from shooting guard to point guard this season under Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni, missed 15 of 23 shots. He scored a team-high 26 points with seven assists and five rebounds, but that pales in comparison to his averages of 28.9 points, 12.2 assists and 7.4 rebounds.

Snyder said the Jazz played good defense and tried to limit Harden, but added that they were “fortunate” he had an off night.

“I think we were a little more disciplined on the ball,” said Snyder of defending Harden, who had 31 points in the Rockets' home win over Utah this season. “He’s so good. Sometimes it’s not what you do.”

Utah trailed by seven early on, and it looked like the team might be a bit weary from the rough back-to-back situation.

But Hood began a 7-0 run with a 3-pointer, and the Jazz kept pushing to take a 10-point lead six minutes after falling behind 16-9.

Utah blew the game open in the fourth quarter by scoring on 10 consecutive possessions, a stretch that saw the Jazz's 10-point lead balloon to 21. Johnson hit two 3-pointers and Hayward scored 10 in that impressive spurt.

“First of all, you have to give them credit,” D’Antoni said. “They played great. Hats off to them. At the same (time), we were a step slow, a step slow at everything. … Defensively, we just did not bring everything that we had. Whether we were tired or whatever the reason, it doesn’t matter.”

Hayward said the Jazz wanted to make the Rockets, who average 14 3-pointers and 109.8 points, focus on the defensive end to take away from their offensive production.

That game plan obviously worked as the Jazz, who host Miami on Thursday, scored a season-high 120 points.

“We did not make shots. They made shots. They made tough shots, especially in the first quarter,” Harden said, pointing out Utah’s six early 3s. “So you got to make shots, tough shots. There are great players in this league, and that’s what happens.”

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