Donovan Mitchell’s Big Fourth Quarter Helps The Jazz Avoid A Sweep With A Game 4 Win Over The Rockets

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Despite trailing entering the fourth quarter, the Jazz were able to avoid the indignity of getting swept on their home floor on Monday night with a 107-91 win over the Rockets in Utah to force a Game 5 back in Houston.

Utah started hot, following the lead of a surprising offensive outburst from Jae Crowder, who had 18 of his 23 points in the first half to give the Jazz a 53-47 advantage at the half. Crowder did a bit of everything, knocking down some much needed three-pointers and also creating the hustle plays he’s known for.

Jae Crowder (14 PTS) connects from downtown in #PhantomCam! #TakeNote 43#RunAsOne 37

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: @NBAonTNT pic.twitter.com/9rxiJTG7x8

— NBA (@NBA) April 23, 2019

ALL HEART pic.twitter.com/AaXScO022Y

— Utah Jazz (@utahjazz) April 23, 2019

Despite an impressive half, the Rockets were still hanging around and caught fire in the third quarter to surge to a three-point lead going to the fourth. James Harden found his groove, en route to another 30-point outing, while Eric Gordon caught fire in the third from three-point range as well to push Houston to the lead.

That’s tough, James Harden.

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#RunAsOne | #NBAPlayoffs pic.twitter.com/0LQiPamJ5i

— NBA TV (@NBATV) April 23, 2019

It looked as though the Rockets may pull away and put this series to bed, setting up a likely rematch with the Warriors in the second round with both teams headed for a solid bit of rest. Instead, the Jazz jumped on Houston to start the fourth and it was Utah that ultimately ran away with things, as Donovan Mitchell had 19 of his 31 points in the fourth quarter to extend the series and keep the Jazz’s postseason dreams alive — finishing things off with an exclamation point in the form of a big alley-oop dunk late.

Spida Mitchell (25 PTS) is heating up in the 4th Q!

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#TakeNote #NBAPlayoffs@NBAonTNT pic.twitter.com/2cv4CFAqrC

— NBA (@NBA) April 23, 2019

yeahhhhh buddy pic.twitter.com/F7tgSv04XG

— Utah Jazz (@utahjazz) April 23, 2019

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DONOVAN MITCHELL

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Spida has 17 fourth-quarter PTS! pic.twitter.com/21yGSIpKrf

— NBA (@NBA) April 23, 2019

The Jazz finally seemed to execute their defensive gameplan against Harden as they initially wanted, forcing him into tougher shots and making his passes go behind him rather than to wide open corner shooters. They limited his lob chances to Clint Capela, who had just four points, and in general frustrated him in ways many thought they may be able to entering the series.

On offense, they finally got some contributions from three-point range, going 11-of-35 from distance, led by Crowder and Mitchell both hitting three each. Ricky Rubio and Joe Ingles still struggled mightily from deep, but Rubio was able to have a positive impact with 18 points and 11 assists despite a 1-0f-7 night from three-point range, which was crucial in taking the creative pressure off of Mitchell, who was able to take over in the fourth.

No team has ever come back from 3-0 down in the playoffs, but a comeback of that magnitude has to start somewhere. If nothing else the two games in Utah proved the Jazz can compete with the Rockets after two no-shows in Houston, and offered up a pair of competitive games, which is what most expected the entire series to be when it started. The question is whether the Jazz can execute as well as they did at home on the road, where they were blown out twice in Games 1 and 2. For Houston, they will want to put this away in Game 5 so they can get as much rest as possible for the second round and not have to return to a Utah arena that was very lively in the last two games.

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