As we all feared, the high powered Houston Rockets’ (44-21) offense would be a handful for the Utah Jazz (41-24). H-Town, led by potential MVP candidate James Harden worked their way to a 116.8 ORTG against one of the best defenses in the league. They shot 32 three pointers, shared the ball well, and got to the free throw line 40 times. And lost. The good guys won 115-108 by doing three things:
- They played defense (Lou shot 2/10, Pat 1/7, James 0/8 from three)
- They ran their offense (124.3 ORTG, .539 / .387 / .875 shooting)
- They didn’t go into this game thinking it was going to be a loss
I will also pat myself on the back in that, in accordance with my Orthodox Jazz fan belief system, I abstained from watching this critical game — knowing full well that if I saw even one GIF of the game as it was going on that it would end in ruin.
Utah jumped on Houston early and went up by 8 at the end of the first quarter. The two teams basically held serve the rest of the game, with some ebbs and flows that are natural. So let this be a lesion to our team: you CAN win games in the first quarter.
Surprisingly, the Jazz jumped on them without two starters (George Hill and Derrick Favors)! Gordon Hayward led the way with 23 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 threes, and 1 block.
EVERYONE IS BLOCKING JAMES HARDEN THIS WEEK pic.twitter.com/NrrvSUdixh— SB Nation NBA (@SBNationNBA) March 9, 2017
A huge problem for the rest of the NBA is that Gobert is no longer just a defensive center. The future DPOY is legit an All-NBA player right now. He had 23 points, 10 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, and 1 block while going 9/12 from the free throw line. And he’s making All-Star plays. BEHOLD:
It wasn’t just a two-man show, and I don’t even know which highlights to point out, but it was an excellent game by the end result. Joe Johnson started the game and started off hot, causing problems in the halfcourt. Dante Exum almost had more fouls than minutes played in this game. But Rodney Hood continues to make shots, and finished with 19 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 threes. Joe Ingles was the tops on the team in +/- with +13, and he had a 6 / 5 / 6 game with 2 threes. Alec Burks continues to ‘get better and/or be better’ adding a neat 10 points (2 threes, 50% shooting, only 2 turn overs) and four boards off the bench.
It pales in comparison to James Harden almost having more total FTA than the entire Jazz team, but whatever. I’m going to watch the game now, also: Houston Sucks!
The Utah Jazz are going home, will fly out on Friday to play the reeling Oklahoma City Thunder (35-29) (lost four in a row) on Saturday night.