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by: Kris Gardner, United States Basketball Writers Association member. Credentialed media member since 1997. USBWA approved online journalist. Voter of Lowe's Senior CLASS, Naismith, USBWA, and Wooden awards.

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Rockets lose to Utah on 3-point basket at the buzzer by Bojan Bogdanovic

Updated: February 10, 2020 -- 7:25 a.m. CT

Posted: February 9, 2020 -- 11:17 p.m. CT

HOUSTON, TX (Toyota Center) -- James Harden described the 3 point buzzer beater by Utah's Bojan Bogdanovic best: "It was tough-ass shot." Bogdanovic's basket gave Utah a 114-113 win over the Rockets in Sunday evening thriller.

Houston defended Bogdanovic well on the shot. P.J. Tucker and James Harden were in Bojan's face when he curled off a high pick and caught the ball with 1.6 seconds on the game clock. But, Bogdanovic swished the shot to improve Utah's record to 34-18 while the Rockets' record falls to 33-20.

"I knew it was good," Tucker said after the game. "I knew it was good as soon as he caught it. He got a good lift on it. I could just tell, as soon as he shot it – I knew it was good."

Moments earlier, Tucker swished a corner three-point shot to put the Rockets ahead 113-111 with just 1.6 seconds remaining.


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With the win tonight, the Jazz even the season series against the Rockets 1-1 with the final game at Utah on February 22. Houston has its four-game home winning streak snapped and has lost two in a row overall after winning four straight prior. Utah has won two straight following a season-high five games losing streak.

Early in the game, the Utah's game plan was for 7'2" center Rudy Gobert defend Houston's Russell Westbrook. With Gobert on Russ, Utah would be content for Russ to shoot perimeter shots rather than attack the basket.

Russ missed his first three field goal attempts; however, the Rockets' coaches made an adjustment to attack Utah's unique defense. The change helped; and, Russ made his next 8 shots and finished the first quarter with 17 points on 8 for 11 field goal shooting.

Houston led Utah 33-25 after the first quarter.

Westbrook shot 2 for 6 from the floor in the second quarter. Utah's Jordan Clarkson scored 12 points in the quarter on 5 for 7 field goal shooting. Clarkson's 12 points helped the Jazz outscore the Rockets 29-25 and slice the Rockets' halftime lead to 58-54.

Russ scored 12 points in the third quarter (6 for 10 field goals). Houston missed 8 of 9 three-point attempts in the third quarter. Utah won the third 27-25. Houston led 83-81 after 36 minutes.

The fourth quarter featured six ties and 9 lead changes. With the scored tied at 100, Utah went on a 7-0 run. Bogdanovic sank a corner three to begin the run. Mike Conley made a long two point shot; and, Donovan Mitchell dropped in a floater from 12 feet.

Westbrook scored a driving layup then rebounded a miss by Mitchell and passed to Danuel House Jr. House made a 3 to bring Houston within 107-105 with 1:45 remaining.

Mitchell nailed a tough turnaround jumper from 11 feet. After Robert Covington missed a three-point attempt; Bogdanovic also missed a 3. Harden grabbed the rebound and raced up the court and was fouled. Harden made both free throws to trim Houston's deficit to 109-107 with 1 minute remaining.

Houston played great defense on Utah's next possession and forced Mitchell to launch a three-point shot to beat the shot clock buzzer. Harden grabbed the board; raced up the court; then dished to Covington. This time, Covington drained the three. Houston led 110-109 with 28.0 seconds on the clock.

After a Utah timeout, Mitchell dribbled into the paint and was fouled by P.J. Tucker. Mitchell made both free throws for a 111-110 Utah lead with 15.6 seconds left in the game.

Houston Head Mike D'Antoni did not call timeout to allow Utah to design a defensive set. Harden raced up the court; dribbled baseline; and got stuck in the paint under the basket. Harden passed the ball to Westbrook. Westbrook dribbled before passing to a wide open Tucker in the corner. Tucker swished the 3 directly in front of Houston's bench.

Timeout, Utah. 1.6 on the clock.

"Yeah, the play was designed for me to shoot a three," Bogdanovic acknowledged. "It's big time from their part to have that trust and confidence in me that I'll make the last shot after the game that I had."

Bogdanovic was 0 for 4 the first three quarters. He made 2 shots the entire game: the three-point shot to put Utah ahead 103-100 and the three-point shot to win the ball game.

Russell Westbrook had a game-high 39 points on 18-of-33 shooting. James Harden had 28 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists, marking his third triple-double of the season and the 45th of his career (Rockets 37-8 mark).

Jordan Clarkson had a team-high 30 points off the bench for Utah. Over the past six games, he is averaging a team-high 21.3 ppg for Utah while shooting 53.9% from the floor and 48.8% from 3-point range.

"Overall, I'm disappointed because we lost," Mike D'Antoni said. "I'm really disappointed; but, if we play like this we're fine."

The Rockets next game is Tuesday, February 11, at home, versus the Boston Celtics. Tip is set for 8:30 p.m.

NOTES:

Houston lost despite having 10 steals with 8 turnovers. The Rockets are 14-4 when having 10+ steals this season. Houston has recorded fewer than 10 turnovers in four of the past six games after doing so twice over the first 47 games of the season.

Danuel House Jr. had 4 steals tonight. Dating back to games played on 1/18, he has the second-most steals of any player in the NBA (25 in 13 games; 1.92 spg). House is averaging 1.28 spg overall this season, up from 0.54 spg in 2018-19.

Houston lost despite leading by as many as 11 points and holding an 83-81 advantage heading into the fourth. The Rockets are 31-11 in games in which they have led by double-digits this season and 29-6 when leading after three quarters of play. Houston is 5-5 in games decided by five or fewer points this season, including 3-4 by three or fewer.

The Rockets lost despite shooting 46.3% from the floor and hitting 15 3-pointers. Houston is 22-6 when shooting 45.0% or better this season and 20-9 when having 15 or more threes made.

Houston had 11 steals and a season-low 5 turnovers. Over the past three games, the Rockets have committed a total of 20 turnovers while recording 36 steals. Over that span, opponents have recorded 57 turnovers resulting in 63 points for the Rockets. Houston has recorded 10 plus steals in three straight games for the second time this season (December 3 - December 7).

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