The stat line of the recent game two of the Western Conference semifinals between the Utah Jazz and the Houston Rockets will show that superstar James Harden scored 32 points, but those points came at a huge premium, as Harden missed 13 of his 22 shots.
Aussie Jazzman Joe Ingles, however, scored five fewer points than Harden did, but he made seven three-pointers, missing not a single long-range attempt, making him a major contributor to the Jazz 116 – 108 win over the Rockets.
The important aspect of the win is that it gave the Jazz a split in the first two games on Houston’s home ground, as the best-of-seven matchup will now head to Salt Lake City, where the Jazz will have the support of a boisterous home crowd.
Ingles did not miss a shot in the second half, going five-for-five. He also was a shutdown defender. The players he guarded only made one bucket from nine attempts, so it is hard to say which side of the ball provided the bigger contribution by Ingles.
Utah was flat in the first game, needing six games to dispose of the Oklahoma City Thunder and playing game one of the semifinal series with Houston on a day-and-a-half’s rest.
Young Aussie Dante Exum also played a key role in the game.
He played just 17 minutes, but he expended massive amounts of energy by hampering Harden and Chris Paul before putting the exclamation point on the game with a huge dunk with under a minute left in the game.
After the game, Ingles told reporters, “We had some time to think about, and talk about what we do. Obviously from our Game 6 (vs. Thunder) to Game 1, was a 36-hour turnaround. We came out a step behind in Game 1 — we were able to watch it and learn from it and play a bit more how we wanted to play for this game.”