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SALT LAKE CITY — Sometimes games go just about as expected.
Such was the case Thursday in Houston.
The Jazz led by as many as 36 points as the road team routed the youthful Rockets 122-91 at the Toyota Center to push their record to 4-0.
Rudy Gobert continued his strong start to the season, scoring 16 points to go along with 14 rebounds. Bojan Bogdanovic led the Jazz in scoring with 19 points, and Donovan Mitchell chipped in 15 points and six assists.
By the game's end, just about everyone had contributed to the blowout win, including rookie Jared Butler, who got his first NBA points (he had 4 points, four rebounds and three assists) and had his first extended run of the season.
Heck, the Jazz faced so little resistance that Eric Paschall jokingly put up a hand and looked to close out on Joe Ingles who was preparing to shoot a 3-pointer.
The best part is it actually caused Ingles to pump fake — not sure that's what Quin Snyder had in mind when he preached defense.
Sadly, though, that's not exactly what happened, or so the Jazz claimed.
"He said he was putting up a 3 sign or whatever," Ingles said of Paschall's fake close out.
As for Ingles, he said he didn't even see his teammate coming. So what caused the pump fake?
Jordan Clarkson had just missed a 3, and Ingles thought Clarkson's defender slipped out for a fast-break opportunity.
"I thought for a second that someone was behind me and going to block the shot," Ingles said. "So I quickly looked and then realized that there were nine guys in front of me."
Ingles was so open that after all of that took place — Paschall's arm raise, the pump fake and counting defenders — that he was still very much wide open. He then took the shot (which with Ingles isn't a guarantee) and nailed it.
"I didn't even see him," Ingles said. "I legitimately thought there was someone behind me, so I'm glad it went in because I would have been mad at him."
That was one of Ingles' four triples on the night. He went 4 of 9 from behind the arc and finished with 14 points to go along with five rebounds.
The Jazz, as a whole, didn't shoot great on the night — they shot 35% from 3-point range and 48% from the field. It was not terrible numbers, but not ones that usually lead to 30-plus point victories.
It got so out of hand because, outside of a run in the second half, Houston struggled to score — and that's putting it mildly.
According to CleaningTheGlass, the Rockets had an offensive rating of 60.2 in their half-court possessions. That's dumbfoundingly bad, especially considering that 83% of the Rockets' non-garbage time possessions came in the half court. So, yeah, even a decent Jazz offensive performance was good enough to make it an easy night for the visitors.
"I thought our guards did a really good job containing," Snyder said. "They've got some guys that are fast and can play off the dribble. We didn't let them get too deep or get angles and penetration."
No Jazz player was in the game for more than 28 minutes, which should give the Jazz ample rest as they start a three-game road trip. Utah will visit Chicago on Saturday before visiting the defending champion Milwaukee Bucks Sunday.
"We're an older team than a lot of teams," Ingles said. "And I think anytime we get the chance to be able to rest guys at the end of the game, I think the coach will do it most times."