Game 19 Preview: Houston Rockets at Utah Jazz

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Start Time: 7:00 p.m. (Mountain Time)
Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
Television: Root Sports
Radio: 1280 am/ 97.5 fm

The Jazz are winners of 2-of-3 ballgames!  The Jazz are looking for their first two game winning streak of the season  when they play Houston tonight in the cozy confines of the  Delta Center ESA.

What's going on with the Jazz:

On Saturday night the Utah Jazz played their best game of the season (from beginning to end) beating the Phoenix Suns, 112-104.  Not to take away from the Jazz win,  it seemed however that the Suns were playing down to their competition, much like talented Jazz teams of yore. No matters a win is a win is a win.

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The Jazz did a couple things that they haven't done in the previous 18 games on a consistent bases.  Jazzbasketball in his recap of the Phoenix game shared how the Jazz offense worked:

How the Jazz Improved Offensively

Short answer: More "Jazzbasketball" – less "Moneyball."
Rather than predominantly run high screen-roll with the floor spread (a la Houston Rockets without the Rockets’ personnel), the Jazz actually ran a variety of multiple sets throughout the game.

They got Favors and Kanter the ball in the post utilizing cross-screen action. They got Richard Jefferson the ball in the post when he routinely had a 6-inch height advantage on his defender. They crashed the offensive boards.

They also ran a lot more side pick&roll where they cleared out one half of the court entirely – giving them a 20′ x 20′ box to play 2-on-2 where they could see the help coming and pass weakside rather than playing in a 12′x 20′ channel where you have shooters on both sides you have to know the location of. The result was a lot of good things like Alec Burks driving middle off the screen, drawing weakside help and hitting Burke for a catch&shoot three (3:51 2nd-Qtr), Hayward hitting Favors for an and1 layup (2:36 2nd-Qtr), and Richard Jefferson making a wide-open 20-foot rhythm jumper (11:23 3rd-Qtr).

The Jazz also showed how you can create better looks for three on high screen-roll when you don’t obsess about constantly spreading the floor deep.

I joked with Moni after the game that maybe Jerry Sloan worked with the team on offense this past week during the long break between games . While the win against the Suns tell us a lot about our team, the Jazz cannot rest on their laurels.

What's going on with the Rockets:

Tonight against the Rockets the Jazz will face the 3rd most efficient offense in the NBA:

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The Rockets however are not too stalwart at defense (on the road)

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The Rockets will not be at full force tonight.  Jenny Dial Creech of the Ultimate Rockets blog is reporting:

At the end of the Rockets game against San Antonio on Saturday night, Chandler Parsons suffered another one of the back spasms that have bothered the forward for several weeks.

On Monday morning in Utah, he did not participate in the team’s shootaround, and coach Kevin McHale answered the usual "We’ll see" when asked if he would play against the Jazz in Monday night’s game.

Jeremy Lin is still out with a knee injury. Greg Smith didn’t shoot around. Francisco Garcia, who tweaked his knee in San Antonio, did shoot around and should be available for the game.


Without Lin and possibly Parsons, the Jazz might possibly have a better chance at winning the game .

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Things to look for:

Utah Jazz-

Playing time:

Peter J Novak tweeted some pretty poignant tweets regarding playing time:

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Some fans are happy with Richard Jefferson and Marvin Williams getting a lot of minutes. Talking to some friends on Twitter today, they are big proponents of Richard Jefferson getting twenty minutes and Marvin playing at the four. They feel that Kanter hasn't earned his minutes. They feel we don't get our three wins without Jefferson and Williams I appreciated hearing their opinions, it was a great discussion with differing opinions but mutual respect.

I am a huge Marvin fan but there has to be a better way to get him minutes than taking the minutes of Enes Kanter and Derrick Favors.

It will be interesting to watch tonight to see what Ty does with the lineups. It was nice to see JLIII get a DNP-CD against the Suns. I don't know if it was Ty's decision or if a kind suggestion from Dennis Lindsey.

I will be interested to see if we embrace development and youth even more by seeing Kanter, Favors and Burks all get 30+ minutes tonight without the fear of being pulled for fouls or mistakes.

Offensive Rebounding:

The Jazz are 8th in the league in offensive rebound rate-  27.6%

Tempo

Jazz despite their youth play  are among the slowest pace team in the league (27) If they want to win they'll have to control the tempo. Houston is 5th in pace.  We've seen what Houston can do when they control the tempo. (Think the 2nd half of the Jazz's last game with the Rockets)

Houston Rockets:

Shooting:

The Rockets are #2 in the league in efg% at 55.6%

Free Throws:

The Rockets are #1 in the league at free throw rate (the rate at which a team goes to the line relative to the number of field goals it attempts) with .428

Remember this:

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