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NBA: Utah Jazz edge Houston Rockets, 132-127, in Filipino Heritage Night duel

By Kristy Gonowon

HOUSTON - On Wednesday night in front of a crowd of 13,583, the NBA celebrated the fourth and final time two Filipino-American players shared the court during this historic regular season. The Rockets hosted its second Filipino-American Heritage night of the season and treated fans to the national anthem sung by Filipino-American dance-pop singer, Jocelyn Enriquez. 

Going into tonight's game, Fil-Am Jalen Green and the Houston Rockets led this series, 2-1, against Fil-Am Jordan Clarkson and the Utah Jazz. With an exciting 3-pointer from Rockets center Christian Wood at buzzer, the Rockets tied the score at 117-all, pushing the game into a dramatic overtime. But it was the Jazz who came out triumphant, capturing the win, 132-127, and tying the series, 2-2.

The Rockets ended the night with two players notching a double-double: Wood with 24 points and 10 rebounds and guard Kevin Porter, Jr. banking 16 points and 12 assists. Rookie Green finished the night with a team-high 27 points, 2 rebounds, and 4 assists. Forward Kenyon “KJ” Martin, Jr. and forward Garrison Matthews both closed out the night scoring in the double digits, with 20 and 14 points, respectively. Matthews was also perfect from the free throw line going 5 of 5. Of note, the Rockets were without the help of John Wall, Eric Gordon, and Dennis Schroder.

The Jazz fared better with guard Donovan Mitchell scoring a game-high 37 points with 10 assists. Veteran center Rudy Gobert frustrated the Rockets in the paint, going 12 of 14, grabbing 17 rebounds, and completing his own double-double with 27 points. Guard Donovan Mitchell scored a game-high 37 points, garnered 10 assists, and went 7 of 11 from the free throw line. Forward Bojan Bogdanovic, guard Mike Conley, and Clarkson all scored in the double digits as well.  

Despite the loss, Rockets head coach Stephan Silas had nothing but praise for his team. 

“We very rarely give up, but tonight especially, they fought and fought and fought. They just stayed with it. The only disappointing thing was that we lost. They should be rewarded for fighting back the way that they did, coming off a back-to-back. The fight of this group is something to be proud of, as a coach and as a fan."

Both teams have a short rest before playing again on Friday, as the Jazz travel to New Orleans to face the Pelicans, while the Rockets head west to Denver to square up against the Nuggets.


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