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Houston Rockets

Eric Gordon pours in career-high 50 points to lead short-handed Houston Rockets past Utah Jazz

No Russell Westbrook, no James Harden....no problem!

Eric Gordon turned in a monster performance against the Utah Jazz (32-14), pouring in a career-high 50 points to lead the Houston Rockets (29-17) to a valuable 126-117 road win.

MORE: NBA teams honour Kobe Bryant with touching tributes

The 31-year-old was a man on a mission, connecting on a sizzling 14-of-22 from the field, 6-of-11 from the three-point line and 16-of-20 at the free-throw line as he relentlessly attacked the Jazz defence all night.

His previous career-high came on Jan. 23, 2009 in his rookie season for the Los Angeles Clippers, with his only other 40-point game coming 11 years ago - the longest span between 40-point games in NBA history, per ESPN Stats & Info.

Per The Athletic's Alykhan Bijani, the last time three Rockets players recorded at least one 40-point game in a single season, came back in 1995-95 when Hakeem Olajuwon, Clyde Drexler and Robert Horry did so.

"It really feels great, man," Gordon told NBA TV post-game. "All the stuff I've been through over the years. All the injuries. For me to get a chance to get 50, it definitely means a lot. And I'm headed in the right direction."

The short-handed Rockets were without James Harden (thigh), Russell Westbrook (rest) and Clint Capela (heel) for this game, but their supporting cast more than stood tall on an emotional night at Vivint Smart Home Arena as the league paid tribute to Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant.

Both teams paid tribute to Bryant at the beginning of the game with 24-second and 8-second violations, with a host of players inscribing heartfelt messages on their sneakers.

"I'm still hurting. I've known him since I was in college. It's just tough," Gordon added. Hopefully, all their families get all the support they can get. It's just a tough day for everybody."

Danuel House Jr. posted his first double-double of the season with 21 points and 11 rebounds to go with five steals, while Austin Rivers poured in a season-high 21 points. PJ Tucker added nine points, 10 rebounds and five assists on the night.

The Rockets made the Jazz pay at the free-throw line, converting 35 of their season-high 49 attempted free throws. The Jazz attempted just 26 free throws on the night and turned the ball over 17 times in a less-than polished performance.

Donovan Mitchell led the Jazz with 36 points on 14-25 shooting from the field as their four-game win streak came to an end.

The Rockets continue their four-game road trip on Thursday, when they take on the Portland Trail Blazers, with both Harden and Westbrook to return to the lineup.

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