Luka Samanic scores 22, Jazz beat Rockets 124-121 to halt 13-game skid.

Salt Lake City — A season-high 22 points from Luka Samanic helped the Utah Jazz stop a 13-game losing streak by defeating the Houston Rockets 124-121 on Thursday. Keyonte George scored 20 points for the Jazz, who went 21-20 at home. Brice Sensabaugh scored 17 and Talen Horton-Tucker 16. Kenneth Lofton Jr. had a season-high 14 points and 9 rebounds.  

Houston scored 21 3-pointers and outscored Utah in second-chance and fast-break points. The Jazz won for the first time since mid-March and ended their third-longest losing streak.  

“That desperation that we played with throughout most of the game, but in particular in the second half, is who we’re aiming to be always,” Jazz coach Will Hardy said.  

Houston lost for the sixth time in seven games despite Fred VanVleet's 42 points and nine 3-pointers. VanVleet had seven assists, seven rebounds, and 9-13 3-point shooting. But he shot 3 of 17 from inside the arc.  

Cam Whitmore scored 18 and made 4 3s. Amen Thompson had 15 points, 10 rebounds, and 2 steals. "We should be concerned, disappointed, and angry at ourselves because it was a wasted opportunity," VanVleet added.  

Three behind at halftime, the Jazz scored four straight to start the third quarter. Five 3-pointers from VanVleet and Holiday erased the gap. Houston led 89-84 after Holiday's two 3-pointers. Utah went on a 14-3 run late in the third and led 98-92 on Sensabaugh's second-chance corner 3.  

The Jazz pulled away after VanVleet knotted it on two free throws with 2:30 left. Utah led 124-118 with 54 seconds left after Darius Beazley and George laid up back-to-back. “We played extremely hard,” George added. “We communicated better than ever. We did everything perfectly and achieved the result we wanted.”  

VanVleet and Jeff Green hit back-to-back 3-pointers to start a 14-4 run that gave the Rockets a 38-28 lead entering the second quarter. The first quarter saw Houston shoot 62% from the perimeter. VanVleet set the pace with six 3s and 20 points. To give the Rockets their first double-digit lead, his final outside basket beat the first-quarter buzzer.  

A 13-0 second-quarter rally by Utah reversed the deficit. That stretch saw Houston scoreless for three minutes. Utah went ahead 51-49 after Horton-Tucker made two free throws. Rockets coach Ime Udoka stated, “Habits are hard to break and mentalities are hard to change and that's why we are where we are record-wise and not achieving our goals. “You'd be better off saying you don't want to play and getting real players.”  

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