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Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
Utah Jazz forward Jae Crowder (99) and Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) square off during NBA playoffs in Salt Lake City on Saturday, April 20, 2019.

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Jazz put forth a much better performance in Game 3 of their playoff series against the Houston Rockets Saturday night than they did in the first two games, but still came up short in a 104-101 loss.

The series is now 3-0 in favor of the Rockets with Game 4 set for next Monday night.

Here are three takeaways from the game.

  • The Jazz struggled mightily on offense for most of the second half. Up by six at the 9:30 mark of the third quarter, Utah made just one field goal over the next 7:15, and by that point, the Rockets had a one-point lead. The Jazz then scored just seven points over the first five minutes of the fourth quarter. For the night, Utah went just 12-of-41 from behind the 3-point line and made just 66 percent of their free throw attempts.
  • Houston star James Harden missed his first 15 field goal attempts of the night, but made three of his last five over the final 7:34 and scored 12 of his 22 points in that stretch as the Rockets took control.
  • After an outstanding first quarter in which he made five of his six shot attempts, Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell finished the night just 9-of-27 from the field.

Here is a quarter-by-quarter recap of the game.

FOURTH QUARTER

James Harden finally got going from the field a little bit and the Jazz couldn't make plays on either end of the floor down the stretch en route to the 104-101 Game 3 loss.

Utah led 80-79 with 10:01 to go, but the Rockets scored the game's next five points, and the Jazz never got the lead back from there.

With the score 102-99 and 10.6 seconds to go, Donovan Mitchell had a good look at a 3-pointer to tie, but it was off. Houston's PJ Tucker then made two free throws to seal the deal.

The Jazz face elimination in next Monday's Game 4.

THIRD QUARTER

Despite a collapse from the Jazz offense in the third quarter, they cling to a 76-74 lead heading into the fourth.

Utah made just one field goal during a 7-minute stretch in the third, but the Rockets scored just 18 points themselves in the frame.

Rockets star James Harden missed all four of his field goal attempts in the quarter and is now 0-of-14 on the night.

HALFTIME

After a second quarter that was a defensive battle most of the way, the Utah Jazz took a 55-50 lead into halftime.

Leading 52-50 as the final seconds wound down, Jazz forward Joe Ingles made a 3-pointer to extend the lead.

Rockets star James Harden is 0-of-10 from the field and has scored just six points. Some of his misses have been thanks to strong Utah defense, while others have been open looks. The Jazz are playing well defensively overall, as Houston is shooting just 37 percent from the field.

The Jazz have a 7-point advantage at the foul line and have more rebounds, assists and blocks.

Donovan Mitchell has a game-high 21 points on 13 shot attempts for Utah.

FIRST QUARTER

The Utah Jazz knew they needed to get off to a better start in Game 3 of their playoff series against the Houston Rockets on Saturday night than they had in the first two games, and they did exactly that.

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The Jazz scored the first eight points of the game and used good defense and timely shotmaking to take a 30-28 lead into the second quarter.

The Rockets tied the game on multiple occasions, but never took the lead in the opening 12 minutes. Houston is shooting just 41 percent from the field, while Utah has hit 47 percent of its shots.

Jazz star Donovan Mitchell scored 13 points in the frame. Rockets guard James Harden picked up two fouls in the opening 95 seconds of play and scored just five points.