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Preview - Houston Rockets @ Utah Jazz - 2 November 2009

We get our first look at the Yao-less and T-Macless Rockets of the season.

I'm not quite sure what to think of the Rockets.  They've been predicted by most to finish out of the playoffs and if everything falls in their favor, they'll grab the 8th seed.

Their first three games of the season haven't shown me anything to persuade me either way.

They opened up the season @ Portland and put up a pretty meek performance falling  87-96.  And it wasn't that close.  They were down 19 going into the fourth.  They didn't shoot the ball well at all in the game

The next night they were in Golden State and barely hung on against the dysfunctional Warriors.  Not that I have any room to be talking when it comes to winning against the Warriors or on the road for that matter.  Their shooting was up, but not as well as you would want it to be against GS.

Saturday was their home opener where they played the Blazers again.  This time they were blistering shooting 50% from three on 12/24 shooting.  They needed every one of them as Brandon Roy poured in 42 of his own but the Rockets prevailed with a 111-107 vistory.

I imagine if the Rockets are going to beat the Jazz, we're going to see them take and make a lot of three pointers.  And they'll probably shoot as many as they want.

The Jazz on the other hand should dominate the paint.  Millsap, Boozer, Okur (if healthy), the resurgent Fesenko, and even Koufos should be able to out-rebound the Rockets.

The advantage that the Jazz will have is that despite having injuries at the wing,we're pretty deep upfront.  I'm worried about Ariza going off for 30+ but maybe AK will be able to slow him down.

Aaron Brooks isn't a slouch this year either.  He's averaging almost 22 points a game to go along with 8 assists.  He's also shooting 80 points higher than his career average.  So you would think he would start to come back down a bit but perhaps he's turned the corner.  The Jazz will have to keep him out of the lane, something I'm not sure they can do.

With the exception of small forward, the Jazz should have the advantage over the Rockets in this one.  The Rockets haven't done well on the road (in the two games they've played).  The Jazz should own the inside and win the paint both on offense and D.

Boozer is good for at least one huge game against Houston as well.  Deron has fared well against the Rockets too.