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Utah Jazz take on the undermanned Houston Rockets

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Chris Paul being out gives Utah an opportunity to steal a win

NBA: Playoffs-Utah Jazz at Houston Rockets Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

Coming off two disappointing losses, the Utah Jazz are looking to put together a complete game against the Houston Rockets. With Chris Paul out because of his suspension from his fight with Rajon Rondo, the Jazz have an opportunity to get a much needed victory.

The season has had some interesting storylines so far for the Utah Jazz. Joe Ingles has been lighting up opposing offenses and defenses. He’s currently shooting 50% from three while leading the league in steals. When Ingles is hitting shots, the Jazz become a dangerous team.

The other storyline this season has been Donovan Mitchell struggling to hit shots. It’s been obvious that he needs to improve his 3-point shooting. Currently, he’s shooting 27% from three. (Although that number should be taken with a grain of salt with half court shots and end of quarter/game heaves.)

But the more surprising number is his 2-point percentage which is currently at 40% opposed to his 50% from last season. Basically, Mitchell hasn’t been hitting shots at the rim at the ridiculous rate he was last season.

Some of this can be attributed to defenses focusing on him more but is a 10% falloff completely attributed to a little bit of extra defensive attention? There is more to the story and the Jazz need to figure it out. To combat Mitchell, the Memphis Grizzlies packed the paint with both of their bigs which took away his shots inside. Can the Jazz figure out a way to get more space for Mitchell to work inside?

NBA: Playoffs-Houston Rockets at Utah Jazz Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports

Game Info

When: 6:00MT • Wednesday October 24th, 2018

Where: Toyota Arena · Houston, TX

TV: AT&T Sportsnet RM, NBA League Pass

Radio: 1280 AM/97.5 FM The Zone

Injuries:

Utah Jazz:

Raul Neto — Right Hamstring — OUT

Houston Rockets:

Chris Paul — Suspension — OUT

James Ennis — Right Hamstring — OUT


What to watch for

Can the Jazz take control?

The Jazz performance against the Grizzlies lacked urgency and aggression which allowed Memphis to control the game. Can the Jazz impose their will against the Rockets?

With Chris Paul out, the Jazz have a chance to guard the Rockets the way they want. In the playoffs the Jazz guarded the Rockets relatively well, but it was Paul’s ability to work in the mid range that did in the Jazz. Tonight, the Jazz don’t have to worry about that.

The Rockets are also without Trevor Ariza and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute and it has shown with their defense. Without two of their best defenders, the Rockets find themselves as the 24th rated defense in the league in defensive rating (according to NBA.com). At times last season the Rockets were the #1 defense in the NBA. That’s a huge dropoff that does not bode well for them if they can’t get it figured out soon.

Can the Jazz offense take advantage?

NBA: Playoffs-Houston Rockets at Utah Jazz Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports