PJ's big rebound, late free throws seal ugly win, 3-0 series lead

It took over 15 minutes of action for Eric Gordon to make a basket... and that wasn't even the bad news.

James Harden had one of his worst offensive games ever, sitting at 0-15 from the field early in the fourth quarter. How the Rockets were even in this game will remain a mystery.

But the defense kept it honest and Harden awoke in the fourth, scoring 14 of his 22 points while PJ Tucker had a huge offensive rebound and key free throws in the final seconds as the Rockets escaped with a 104-101 win in Salt Lake City to take a 3-0 series lead over the Jazz.

Put simply, the Rockets stole this one.

Tucker, who has had some rough offensive games, made the key play, grabbing an offensive rebound in the big boy paint area off a Harden miss with 10.6 seconds left and the Rockets clinging to a two-point edge.

Tucker could have sealed the game but made just one of two free throws. Donovan Mitchell got a clean look for a three but missed it and Tucker's two free throws after that sealed the contest.

Harden was badly off and after the first 7-8 misses, it seemed to me that it was in his head. He was hesitating to take shots at times. For his part, he said it was business as usual.

"Keep shooting. Keep being aggressive," said Harden on the 15 straight misses to start. "0-15, 14-15, 15-15... my job is to go out there and produce and be aggressive in attack mode. Nothing changes."

Chris Paul was steady, scoring 18 points on 7-15 shooting. Gerald Green hit some big shots early in the fourth that gave Houston some momentum and finished with three triples in the game. Eric Gordon (12 points) hit a huge three with just over two and a half minutes left that put the Rockets up by four.

Big, big win that puts the Rockets firmly in the driver's seat. Game 4 is Monday in Utah.

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