NBA Regular Season: Houston Rockets (24-22) at Utah Jazz (24-20) -- Game Preview

Russ Isabella-US PRESSWIRE

Game #45 • Energy Solution Arena • Salt Lake City, UT • January 28, 2013 • 7:00 p.m. (MT) • TV: ROOT Sports RADIO: 1280 AM/97.5 FM and 1600 AM ESPN Deportes

NBA Regular Season 2012-2013, Game 45:

Houston Rockets (24-22) @ Utah Jazz (24-20)

#HOUatUTA Game Stream -- The Dream Shake -- Rockets vs Jazz coverage

Walk like a Nigerian.

.

The Basics:

Houston went on a 5 game win streak, then lost 7, and now has come back to win 3 of their last 4. They're #8 in the west, and are powered by a fact pace attack -- that has them sitting 1 game behind us in the standings. They are 3-7 in their last 10. The opposite would be going 7-3 in their last 10, which is exactly what we've done. We're 15-4 at home, they're 9-14 on the road. And we've played twice already this season.

.

.

The always amazing Media Notes produced by the Utah Jazz:

.

.

History:

The Jazz are 97 - 80 against the Rockets in our franchise history. We're a dominating 61-27 in Utah. We've played twice this season, and ALREADY beat them once.

If we go slow, we win. If we try to run around we lose. Seems simple.

.

.

Scouting, Stats, and Stereotypes:

James Harden is scoring a billion points a game (26.0 ppg), and doing a lot of other great things (rebounds, assists, foul shots, threes, steals, beard size). He's going to be a problem. Randy Foye has kinda kept him in check this season, so good on ya Randy. I don't expect him to lock him down three games in a row though. Beyond Harden, the Rockets are a balanced scoring team, with a great outside attack; and it's all launched from a superb defensive rebounding doctrine. They're the fastest team in the league by pace, and score the 2nd most points per game. Their defense is 27th though. That's the pace. They're a Top 10 team in Off Rtg, and 18th in Def Rtg. So that's not bad. We're a much slower team by comparison, and our attack is inside, almost exclusively inside. We're a bottom half of the league team in terms of pace, but we're still 11th in PPG, and 10th in Off Rtg. We're not so adept at defense, but when it counts we can play it.

Houston is great on the defensive glass, we're great on the offensive glass. They shoot threes, we don't. We're at home, where we tend to run a bit more. If we play their style of game it's in their favor.

X

X

Injury Report:

Rockets Injuries --

No Injuries...

    Jazz Injuries --

    • Mo Williams (PG) OUT -- Mo is still out recovering from his right thumb surgery. He's going to miss a few more weeks for sure.
    • Gordon Hayward (SG/SF) ??? -- There are conflicting reports about Gordon's availability for tonight, and conflicting reports about his injury. It's a right shoulder injury -- either right shoulder pain, or a right shoulder sprain. He sustained this injury against the Indiana Pacers. He's either probable or doubtful. I'm sure we'll get an update on this later.
    • Raja Bell (SG) OUT -- Tax time -- Raja is on the case.

    Advantage --

    Down two starters, or no injuries? Clearly the Rockets have the advantage here.

    .

    .

    The Game:

    This is a blood feud.

    .

    .

    Player Focus:

    Al Jefferson. Al busted loose in Overtime against the Pacers and finished with 25 points. He needs to have another big game as he has scored 20+ points only once in his last four (after a good stretch of going 20+ in four straight games), and has only managed one double double in the last three. Al should be the best player on the floor when he's getting the ball where he's effective. Lin is a cultural icon, and Harden an Olympian -- but their best thing isn't better than Al's best thing. So we need to make sure we get Al doing what he does best.

    If we do, we'll win. Period. Asik will pick up 2 quick fouls, and they don't have quality depth inside. They have a ton of face up bigs though (Patterson, and Morris all can hit threes). Also, if we get Asik in foul trouble, their defensive rebounding Kraken is out of the game -- making our best thing (offensive rebounds) all that easier to get.

    Their guards get all the press. But Al should feast inside tonight if a) we can get him the ball where he's good, and b) he picks up some fouls on their bigs.

    X

    X

    X-Factors:

    It's all going to come down to second chance buckets here. The Rockets are the 4th best team in the NBA at DRB%. We're the 7th best team in the NBA at ORB%. They like to get defensive rebounds, then outlet, and get something in transition between superior ball handlers Jeremy Lin and James Harden, and great trailers in Chandler Parsons, Carlos Delfino, Marcus Morris, and even Patrick Patterson at this stage of the season. We like to get offensive rebounds, and pound the other team into submission with our size.

    Maybe this should be a main point and not an X-Factor. A guess real x-factors will be three point shooter, Houston takes the most, makes the most, and is 12th best in the league at the deep ball. We've cooled off on them quite a but, but are still 9th best by percentage. Houston's three point attack is huge, as they end up with the best eFG% as a result of all their bombs.

    Last X-Factor will be the benches. They have quality depth and so do we. So we'll see who wins these three key areas. I'm pretty sure the winner of them will win the game too.

    .

    .

    Word from the Badguys:

    The @DreamShakeSBN account and ours has been going at it this afternoon pretty well. Tell 'em how you feel, Jazz fans? (Also their preview is so predictable in their comments section...)

    .

    .

    As an aside:

    Remember when Hakeem Olajuwon traveled? Oh yeah, that was all the time.

    .

    .

    Fearless Prediction:

    Jazz win, why? Because Houston ain't got nothing on Utah, and the Rockets have nothing on the Jazz. They have the marketable players, but we're a team that plays great at home.

    X
    Log In Sign Up

    forgot?
    Log In Sign Up

    Forgot password?

    We'll email you a reset link.

    If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

    Forgot password?

    Try another email?

    Almost done,

    By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

    Join SLC Dunk

    You must be a member of SLC Dunk to participate.

    We have our own Community Guidelines at SLC Dunk. You should read them.

    Join SLC Dunk

    You must be a member of SLC Dunk to participate.

    We have our own Community Guidelines at SLC Dunk. You should read them.

    Spinner.vc97ec6e

    Authenticating

    Great!

    Choose an available username to complete sign up.

    In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

    tracking_pixel_9347_tracker