It's a bit odd that this is the first time we're playing the Rockets this season. Part of that is because we only face them 3 times this season.
So here's what you need to know about the Rockets. You likely already know about Yao. He's out for the season after a stress fracture on his ankle took him down. This is a new injury though. It's too bad to see a player such as Yao to have his career shortened like this. That's not to say he's not coming back. He's an unrestricted free agent going into next season. He's had surgery and I'm sure if he doesn't go back to Houston, some team will take a flyer on him.
Let's get to the players that Houston does have playing. First on the list is Kevin Martin. As you might recall, he was brought to Houston last season in a deal that sent Carl Landry to Sacramento. He's a proficient scorer by nailing threes and getting to the line a lot. He currently leads the league in free-throws made. Clarkpojo would trade his first-born without hesitation to land Martin.
You're familiar with Luis Scola. He's been a borderline All-star for the past few years and it's no different this year. He's putting up 19 & 8 which would be a career-high for PPG.
In fact, most of the team can make the long ball. They're fourth in the league in 3P shooting percentage. That's not a good sign for the Jazz given their recent slump defending the three. The other bad news is that they're fourth in the league in free-throw attempts. That's why they're fourth in the league overall in offense.
So why are they 16-20? Well, their defense is not good. They rank 24th in the league in defensive efficiency, allowing 109.4 points per 100 possessions. They run at a fast pace so they score a lot but also give up a lot of points.
They're on a four-game losing streak and have lost five of their last six. They had a five-game winning streak before that but none of those teams had winning records.
So expect tonight to be another free-throw line affair as both teams both go to the line a lot and foul a lot.
The other good news is that the Rockets played last night as well and had to travel.