LOS ANGELES, United
States– Bojan Bogdanovic shook off a frustrating shooting night by nailing
a clutch three pointer at the buzzer to lift the Utah Jazz to a 114-113 win
over the Houston Rockets Sunday.
Bogdanovic is averaging 21 points per game this season but
the Croatian star finished with eight points against the Rockets. He sank just
two field goals.
But he made it count when it mattered the most. The Jazz
executed the final play to perfection as Bogdanovic shot over James Harden for
the winning basket.
“They made a heck of a shot,” Houston coach Mike
D’Antoni said. “We had two guys on him. I was afraid we were going to foul
him (because) it was so close. Hats off to that shot.”
With just over four minutes left, Bogdanovic hit a three
pointer and then Donovan Mitchell nailed a jumper to give the Jazz a 107-100
But the Rockets weren’t finished. Harden answered with a
nifty pass to Robert Covington who sank a three to put Houston ahead 110-109
with 28 seconds left.
Mitchell responded with two free throws as the Jazz got back
in front. Houston’s PJ Tucker then sank a corner three-pointer with 1.6 seconds
left that pushed the Rockets back in front before Bogdanovic had the final say.
Jordan Clarkson paced the Jazz with 30 points off the bench
while Mitchell added 24 and six assists. Rudy Gobert had 12 points and 15
Russell Westbrook led the Rockets with 39 points and Harden
finished with a triple double of 28 points, 10 assists and 10 rebounds for the
Rockets, who shot just 10 of 33 from three-point range over the last three
Elsewhere, Kemba Walker scored 27 points and hit a pair of
key three pointers late as the Boston Celtics stretched their winning streak to
seven games with a 112-111 win over Oklahoma City.
Walker hit two threes from almost the exact same spot in the
final three minutes to seal the win for Boston in front of a crowd of 18,200 at
the Chesapeake Energy Arena.
With the Celtics ahead by four and the clock running down he
nailed a three pointer to put the gap at seven.
Thunder guard Chris Paul — who ended the game on 22 points
— knocked down a jump shot at the other end but Walker answered with another
three from the same distance a few seconds later as the Celtics regained
Paul then made a three-pointer at the buzzer to cap the
scoring and make it a one-point game.
“Good, tough teams,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens
said. “A lot of smart basketball and then we almost gave it away at the
end. But, you know, up to that point I think we played really hard and really
Jayson Tatum scored 19 of his 26 points in the second half
for Boston, who have now won 10 of their last 11 contests.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Danilo Gallinari scored 24
points each to lead the Thunder, who suffered just their second loss in 11
games. Dennis Schroder had 22 points, but the rest of the Thunder players
combined for just 19 points.
The three Celtics who missed Friday’s win over Atlanta with
various injuries — Jaylen Brown, Gordon Hayward and Daniel Theis — all
returned for Sunday’s game.
Hayward, Tatum, and Theis each had double-doubles. Brown
contributed 17 points.
Thunder rookie forward Darius Bazley left the game in the
first quarter after spraining his knee and did not return.
Also, Lou Williams scored 25 points and Paul George had 22
as the Los Angeles Clippers rebounded from a demoralizing defeat one night
earlier for a one-sided 133-92 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The Clippers won without Kawhi Leonard, who took the game
off so he didn’t have to play two nights in a row.