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Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
Utah Jazz forward Jae Crowder (99) dives after a lose ball behind Houston Rockets guard Chris Paul (3) as the Utah Jazz and the Houston Rockets play game of one of the NBA semifinals in Houston on Sunday, April 29, 2018. Rockets win game one 110-96.

HOUSTON — The top-seeded Houston Rockets built a huge first-half lead to cruise past the Utah Jazz in Game 1 of their NBA playoff series Sunday afternoon, 110-96.

Here’s a brief look at what happened.

Turning point: PJ Tucker hit two straight 3-pointers late in the second half that seemed to break the Utah Jazz’s spirit as Houston carried a 25-point lead into halftime.

The hero: The Rockets’ James Harden showed why he’s a leading candidate to win MVP this year, torching the Jazz for 41 points. He was deadly on step-back 3-pointers, hitting 7 of 13 from the beyond the arc.

3 keys:

• Rockets’ center Clint Capela dominated Rudy Gobert in the first half, scoring 10 points while grabbing eight rebounds. Gobert, however, only had three rebounds, 0 blocks and 0 shots for just 2 points. Gobert’s first shot didn’t come until 8:30 left in the fourth quarter.

• The Jazz showed some life, led by Donovan Mitchell, in the second half. They cut a 27-point lead to 11, but that was as close as they could get. Mitchell put in 10 points during that stretch on his way to a team-high 21 points

• Utah was without floor general Ricky Rubio, who was out with a hamstring injury. Jae Crowder helped to fill in the scoring gap. He also scored 21 points.

Series status:

Houston leads 1-0

Game 1: Houston 110, Utah 96

Game 2: Utah at Houston, Wednesday, 6 p.m., TNT

Game 3: Houston at Utah, Friday, 8:30 p.m., ESPN

Game 4: Houston at Utah, Sunday, May 6, 6 p.m., TNT

Game 5: Utah at Houston, Tuesday, May 8, TBD, TNT*

Game 6: Houston at Utah, Thursday, May 10, TBD, ESPN*

Game 7: Utah at Houston, Monday, May 14, TBD, TNT*

*if necessary