HOUSTON – Gordon Hayward scored a season-high 29 points and the Utah Jazz helped their fading playoff hopes with a 103-91 win over the Houston Rockets on Wednesday night.
Paul Millsap added 21 points and Al Jefferson had 15 for the Jazz, who held the No. 10 spot in the Western Conference standings coming into the game.
The Jazz shot 51 percent (40 of 78) and led by as many as 18, taking advantage of Houston's poor shooting.
Houston started the night in the sixth in the West, and had a four-game winning streak snapped.
Goran Dragic scored 19, Kyle Lowry added 15 off the bench and Marcus Camby grabbed 13 rebounds for the Rockets, who shot 36 percent (31 of 87) from the field.
Lowry drew a loud ovation when he replaced Dragic in the final minute of the first quarter. Lowry was playing in his third game — and first at home — since recovering from a bacterial infection that sidelined him for 15 games.
The Rockets led early, but Hayward sank a 3-pointer and Millsap hit three mid-range shots during a 13-1 Utah spurt bridging the first and second quarters. The Rockets missed six straight shots during the spurt, and trailed 38-26.
Houston answered with a quick 10-0 burst, finished by Chase Budinger's 3-pointer. But the Jazz made 22 of 38 shots in the first half (58 percent) and led 56-46 at the break. Hayward had 17 points and Millsap had 16 in the opening half.
Early in the third quarter, a Jazz turnover led to a fast-break dunk by Courtney Lee to make it 64-56. Lee missed a 3-pointer on Houston's next trip, and Jefferson broke free for a two-handed dunk to quiet the crowd again.
Jefferson and Millsap scored again from close range and Hayward sank his fourth 3-pointer as Utah stretched the lead to 76-60. The Rockets, meanwhile, went cold in the third quarter, missing 15 of 19 shots.
Houston coach Kevin McHale had Lowry and Dragic on the floor together late in the third and early in the fourth quarter. Lowry drove for two layups, and assisted on baskets by Luis Scola and Patrick Patterson to start a Houston rally.
Lowry threw a long pass to Dragic for a breakaway dunk with 6:56 left and the Rockets trailed only 85-80. Jefferson scored, but Lowry answered with his first 3-pointer of the night to cut the deficit to four.
Budinger missed a 3, and Hayward raced for a crowd-silencing dunk with 5:34 remaining. Hayward made an off-balance shot, drew contact from Scola and hit the resulting free throw to put Utah up 93-83.
Derrick Favors finished off the Rockets with a dunk with 1:10 left for a 98-89 lead. Hayward swished a pair of free throws with 56 seconds to go, and Utah hit 100 points for the fifth time in six games.
Notes: The Jazz have won seven of their last 14 road games. ... Utah blocked eight shots. The Jazz came in ranked fourth in the league in blocks per game (5.8). ... Utah improved to 25-6 when holding its opponent below 100 points... Dragic reached double-figures for the 20th straight game, a career high. ... Houston went 4-for-20 from 3-point range (20 percent).