Harden ended a 2 ½-minute Houston scoring drought with a three-pointer about a minute later that was the start of a 9-3 run that got the Rockets within 111-105 with 1:46 left. Houston shot just 6-of-25 from the field and 3-of-12 from 3 in the final frame. And in the second half, as the Rockets were threatening, the Jazz went on a soul-crushing 16-2 run. The rookie squatted into his stance, holding his arms nearly comically to his sides, shuffling against the grain as Harden tried to drive him.
Alec Burks and Jae Crowder also stepped up off Utah's bench. And, after claiming a 94-92 lead on an Eric Gordon 3-pointer with 8:04 left, the Rockets collapsed defensively yet again, with Mitchell and Ingles fueling the Jazz to the upset victory.
It was a sequence of outcome, and another to highlight Mitchell's outrageous poise and ability. "We've had plenty of games where our shots weren't falling".
Given that Houston had come back from 19 points down in the second quarter and only trailed by a point entering the fourth, it appeared that the shot might have been the beginning of a game-ending run that would see the Rockets take a 2-0 series lead.
Donovan Mitchell lasers a no-look pass to Rudy Gobert for a two-handed flush. The Rockets are historically prolific when it comes to shooting 3-pointers, but in this game it was the Jazz that did significant damage from long distance.
The Jazz destroyed the Rockets from the 3-point line. It came as it often does, Harden scoring in his ways - free throws, 3s and layups. Quin Snyder's bunch built a lead that ballooned to as many as 19 points, but the Rockets fought back and eventually eliminated the deficit in the third quarter.
Utah came out swinging with the intention to send the Rockets a message.
Mitchell turned into more of a facilitator in Game 2 with Ricky Rubio still out of the lineup, but if the Jazz don't get the effort they do out of Ingles and Exum, Utah wouldn't be leaving Houston with home-court advantage.
The Jazz bench almost doubled up their Rockets counterparts in scoring (41-22) and got a career night from Alec Burks (17 points, six assists), a double-double from Jae Crowder (15 points and 10 rebounds) and quality work on both ends of the floor from Dante Exum, whose drive-and-dunk with 55.3 seconds to play closed the door on any hopes the Rockets had of a last-minute comeback of their own. But give them a lot of credit. Straight away, after another Utah turnover, the Rockets popped the ball around the perimeter in mid-transition, with it finding Harden at the top of the key wide-open.
What the Jazz did on Wednesday night felt emblematic of the culture of this franchise.
"They came out with some thrust in that first half", Harden said. The end of the second quarter and third quarter we picked it up, but it's a pretty good team out there.