HOUSTON — Earlier today, Utah Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin called tonight's showdown with Houston Rockets a "huge game."
Twenty-four minutes into it, his team is playing like it.
Gordon Hayward has scored 17 points and Paul Millsap has added 16 to lead the Jazz to a 56-46 halftime lead over the Rockets at Toyota Center.
After a bit of a slow start — falling behind by six early on — the Jazz palyed with extra oomph and hustle while using a 12-2 spurt to gain control of momentum and tempo in the first half.
The Jazz shot 57.9 percent over the first 24 minutes compared to 41.9 percent by the Rockets.
Chandler Parsons leads Houston with 10 points.
The Jazz (30-28) could get closer to a playoff spot with a win over the Rockets (35-28). Utah only has 10 players available because of injuries, including Jeremy Evans' sprained ankle.