James Harden leads Houston to Game 1 win.
James Harden leads Houston to Game 1 win.

Monstrous Harden secures Game 1 win over Ingles, Jazz

JAMES Harden's MVP-calibre season continued in Game 1 of Houston's Western Conference semi-final series against the Utah Jazz, as the Rockets came out 110-96 winners.

The Rockets superstar had 41 points, eight assists, and seven assists in a comfortable outing for Mike D'Antoni's men; the Jazz doing little to quell the concerns that this would be a tough matchup for them.

Jae Crowder was the standout for Utah, putting up 21 points off the bench, while rookie Donovan Mitchell had 21 of his own.

Joe Ingles dropped 15 points, six rebounds, and five assists, while Danté Exum had nine points off the bench.

"We had energy from the beginning of the game," Harden told Lisa Salters post-game.

"We knew what they just went through and how tough that last series was. We had a few days of rest, so we wanted to come out here and pick the pace up; defensively get stops, and offensively move the basketball and get our shots; and we did that."

Game 2 between the Houston Rockets will be played on Thursday 3 May.