Houston Rockets (21-14) vs. Utah Jazz (15-18)
n the last game of the month the Utah Jazz will face off against their old Midwest Division Rivals on the second night of a back to back. It is also the second night of a back to back set for the Rockets as well; however, they landed in Salt Lake City while the Jazz were still playing the Sacramento Kings. If anything, Houston should be the more rested team.
What’s going on with the Rockets?
The Rockets are barely being held back by the earth’s gravity right now. They have won four games in a row, and 5 of their last 6. And 8 of their last 11. And so forth. We’re two teams going in very different directions right now. The Rockets are a killer offense, being ranked #9 in PPG, being ranked #3 in FT%, being ranked #6 in threes made and #7 in threes attempted – and most impressively, they take the second most shots in the entire league. They are all offensive firepower right now, and take care of business on the glass.
The Major Culprits are Kevin Martin (17.9 ppg), Kyle Lowry (15.9 ppg, 7.5 apg), and Luis Scola (15.1, 6.1 rpg). None of those guys play ‘traditional starters’ minutes’, but they do play enough to help their team get wins. Over the last little stretch Lowry has been on a tear: 22.4 ppg in the last five games. There’s no doubt that he’s ready to equal or eclipse that average tonight..
After the Jump -- a look at the Jazz and the season series so far . . .
What’s going on with the Jazz?
The Utah Jazz are in a proverbial tailspin right now. After a very solid, impressive, and perhaps fluky start, the Jazz have been in "failure to launch" mode. In the last four games Utah has lost all of them, and giving up 102.5 ppg on average to the likes of the Sacramento Kings and Minnesota Timberwolves. Houston poses a significant challenge for the Jazz because we only scored 85 points against them, while surrendering over 100 points.
Josh Howard was moved into the starting lineup and he has responded with . . . more shoots more than anything else. At least he keeps the defenses honest and they have to guard him. Right now the Jazz are banged up with Raja Bell, Jamaal Tinsley, and Paul Millsap all likely to miss tonight’s game. Utah continues to stay in games for the majority of it – despite being without some key rotation players right now. Tonight should be no different as the Jazz get the majority of their wins at home.
This will be the second of three total games these two teams play. The last we saw these two teams was about 10 nights ago when the Houston Rockets blasted off against the Jazz. The final score was 101-85 for the bad guys. The Jazz only scored 39 total second half points, and Kyle Lowry dropped 32 points, while Luis Scola dropped 26. Scola scored on his usual array of post moves and PNRs, while Lowry went 7/8 from downtown. As a team the Rockets went 10/19 against the Jazz from deep. We responded in kind, by shooting 14 threes, and making 5 of them.
The Jazz had little fight that night, which is sad because it was the next immediate game after a very solid 14 point victory against the Washington Wizards. If there is anything we can take from our inconsistent play is that on any given night we’re either going to play hard, or barely show up. It makes you sick as a Jazz fan; especially when we keep losing games to our rivals.