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Houston Rockets

James Harden and Russell Westbrook combine for 72 points, lead Houston Rockets to impressive victory in Salt Lake City

In the last of three meetings between the Utah Jazz and the Houston Rockets, the latter, led by their former MVP duo, picked up a clinical win in Salt Lake City.

The Jazz had five players finish in double figures led by 31 from Donovan Mitchell and Jordan Clarkson contributed 22 off the bench but the duo couldn't stop the team from slipping to their seventh loss in the last 11 games.

Here are the biggest takeaways from this game:

Harden & Westbrook lead from the front

James Harden was the best player on the court.

In 37 minutes, he finished with 38 points (13-23 FGs; 6-11 3Ps), seven rebounds, five assists, two steals, and a game-high +24. On the other hand, Westbrook recorded his 28th straight game with 20 or more points as he finished with 34 points (14-26 FGs).

The duo connected on this highlight worthy alley-oop.

The duo dished out 11 of the team's 20 assists and were responsible for all of the team's 10 made free-throws.

Decisive 3rd quarter

In the first half of this game, neither team could pull away. However, in the third quarter, the visitors did just that.

Over the last 5:30 minutes of the third quarter, the Rockets outscored the Jazz 20-9. In fact, over the entire period, the visitors doubled up the hosts' points tally of 19.

The Rockets scored 38 on 16-of-26 shooting from the field and 6-of-14 from beyond the arc whereas the Jazz just managed six field goals all quarter.

Here's a look at Jazz's shooting in the third quarter:

Harden and Westbrook alone outscored the Jazz, combining for 22 of the Rockets' 38 points.

Small-ball Rockets starting to click consistently?

Since the mid-season trade deadline when the Rockets embraced their super small-ball line-up, they've gone 4-2 in six games.

In those two losses, one was without Westbrook in Phoenix and the other came against the Jazz courtesy of Bogdan Bogdanovic's buzzer-beating game-winner.

In the four wins, the Rockets have beaten three playoff opponents - the Los Angeles Lakers (best in the West), the Boston Celtics (snapped the C's then 7-game win streak), and now the Utah Jazz (the West's 5th seed).

In these wins, the Rockets are averaging 19 made 3-pointers on 42.7% shooting.

The 36-point loss in Phoenix throws the defensive numbers off but if you just consider their current 3-game win streak, the Rockets have the second-best offensive rating (120.8) and the fifth-best defensive rating (104.6) in the league.

Just small sample size or a sign of things to come?

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