NBA Playoffs: Rondo and Davis lead Pelicans demolition of Warriors, Rockets blow out Jazz in Game 3

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Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert defends against Houston Rockets center Clint Capela.Source: AP

TWO games worth of NBA Playoffs action meant two blowouts on Saturday (AEDT).

First, it was the New Orleans Pelicans, who rebounded in a big way to win their first game of the Western Conference semi-finals in convincing fashion.

Then, it was the Utah Jazz who were on the wrong end of a blowout, with the Housto Rockets putting on a show to take a 2-1 series lead.

We recap all of the day’s action below!

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Simmons fails to fire

1:16

AUSSIES IN ACTION

Joe Ingles came back to earth, finishing with just six points and five assists in the Utah Jazz’s 113-92 loss to the Houston Rockets. In the same game, Danté Exum came off the bench for six points and three rebounds.

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PELICANS TAKE ONE BACK

— via AFP

The New Orleans Pelicans, energised by a return to their home court, dominated the reigning NBA champion Golden State Warriors 119-100 Friday to narrow the gap in their second-round playoff series.

Anthony Davis scored 33 points with 18 rebounds and four steals and Pels point guard Rajon Rondo dished out 21 assists to keep New Orleans’ offence clicking.

Davis was a force in the paint, driving and dunking as New Orleans outscored Golden State 54-36 in the paint.

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New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis.Source: AP

With the deficit now down to 2-1 in their best-of-seven Western Conference series, the Pelicans will have a chance to even things up when they host game four on Sunday.

After dropping the first two games in Oakland, the Pelicans had their backs against the wall, and they responded.

New Orleans drained 10 three-pointers in the first 24 minutes, leading by as many as 15 en route to a 62-56 halftime lead.

Jrue Holiday helped set the tone, scoring 11 of his 21 points in the first quarter.

Warriors star Stephen Curry, back in the starting lineup after coming off the bench in his return from a knee injury in game two, mustered only three points in the opening quarter, when sharpshooter Klay Thompson was held scoreless.

Thompson scoring 20 of his 26 points in the second quarter, but finished making just nine of his 22 attempts from the field.

Kevin Durant added 22 points and Curry finished with 19 points on six-of-19 shooting for the Warriors.

ROCKETS DESTROY JAZZ

— via AP

James Harden had 25 points and 12 assists to lead Houston to a 113-92 win over Utah in Game 3 of their Western Conference semifinals series on Friday night.

Eric Gordon added 25 points and Chris Paul had 15 points, seven rebounds and six assists for the Rockets. Houston beat Utah in Salt Lake City for the third time this season to take a 2-1 series lead. Game 4 is on Sunday.

Royce O’ Neale scored 17 points. Alec Burks chipped in 14 points while Rudy Gobert added 12 points and nine rebounds for the Jazz.

Utah never got on track on offense. The Jazz shot poorly over the first three quarters and committed 16 turnovers. Houston scored 19 points off those turnovers.

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James Harden.Source: AFP

On the heels of a listless first-half effort in Game 2, Houston avoided enduring another slow start. The Rockets picked apart Utah’s defense practically from the opening tip.

Houston opened the game by scoring baskets on six of its first seven possessions. Harden capped the flurry with his first basket to put the Rockets up 15-5. It only grew worse for the Jazz from there. The Rockets led by as many as 22 in the first quarter, taking a 37-15 lead on back-to-back baskets from Harden and Gerald Green.

Houston made 16 of its 26 shots in the first quarter and totaled 39 points in the period. As effective as the Rockets were on offense, their defense proved equally troublesome for Utah. They forced the Jazz to commit six turnovers before the second quarter and scored nine points off those turnovers.

Utah cut Houston’s lead 49-34 midway through the second quarter after O’ Neale scored three straight baskets to fuel a 9-0 run. Clint Capela ended the run with a dunk and the Rockets proceeded to outscore the Jazz 31-9 over a 10 minute stretch extending into the third quarter. They pushed their lead to 80-43 on a driving layup from Ariza with 8:01 left in the quarter.

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