Utah Jazz vs. Houston Rockets – Game 2, Wednesday May 2, 8:00 PM EST at BMO Toyota Center Houston, TX
The Rockets lead this best of 7 series 1-0.
In Game 1 of this series in Houston the Rockets beat the Jazz 110-96. Houston jumped on Utah early outscoring them by double digits in each of the first two quarters and they were up 64-39 at the half.
The Jazz shot the better overall FG% in Game 1 (50% to 45.1%), but they shot 31.8% from beyond the 3-pt arc while the Rockets shot a scorching 3-pt FG% of 53.1%. It also did not help that Utah had 18 turnovers.
The Jazz had no answer for James Harden, who went for 41 points, was 7/12 from 3-pt land, and also had eight rebounds and seven assists. The Rockets had balance in the game with three other starters going for at least 15 points including big man Clint Capela, who had a double-double with 16 points and 12 rebounds.
The Jazz were shorthanded in Game 1 with PG Ricky Rubio sidelined with a hamstring injury and he is out for Game 2 as well. His loss is a big one and in two of the last three games he played in the opening round series with Oklahoma City he went for a double-double.
The Jazz beat the Thunder in Game 7 without Rubio playing good defense. In the regular season they were tied for 1st in the league in opponents’ points allowed and they have to play better D in Game 2 of they will be in a 0-2 hole.
Donovan Mitchell and reserve Joe Crowder were the high scorers for the Jazz in Game 1 each going for 21 points. Rudy Gobert, who will likely win Defensive Player of the Year, went for 11 points and nine rebounds and he has to play better defense inside and not allow Capela to have a big game.
The Jazz lost all four games facing the Rockets in the regular season. In three of those games and in Game 1 of this series they gave up at least 110 points while for the season they gave up an average of 99.8 ppg. Utah must play better defense to have any chance to beat the Rockets, which is easier said than done with a Harden led team that ranks 2nd in the NBA in ppg. The Jazz have to slow the pace, but that is much more difficult without their starting PG in Rubio.
In the five games between these teams this season the Rockets have beaten the Jazz by an average of 16.8 ppg.
Harden will get his points, but the Jazz have to keep him from shooting a high FG% and they have to concentrate on not letting the other Houston players from scoring big.
Rockets vs. Jazz match predictions
The Rockets have dominated the Jazz this season and even though they shot a lower FG% in Game 1 they still won by double figures. Look for that trend to continue, as in Game 2 in the Lone Star State the Rockets will cover the 11.5-point spread at Bovada and take a 2-0 lead in this Western Conference semifinals series.
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