The Houston Rockets came out on a mission to prove they are still the #1 team in the league and they sent that message from the opening tip. James Harden and Chris Paul carved up the Jazz defense from start to finish. Surprisingly, it was probably the Rocket’s defense that was even more impressive.
Utah looked out of sink the entire game and never found a rhythm. Donovan Mitchell had his worst postseason outing shooting 4/16 from the field for 10 points. But it wasn’t just Mitchell who struggled. Joe Ingles, who was so magnificent in Game 2, shot 2/10 for 6 points with 5 turnovers. Rudy Gobert’s stat line looks efficient from the box score, but his defensive impact was almost non existent. It may have been from the Rocket’s scheme, but, more likely, it was the Rocket’s talent that negated Gobert.
For the Jazz to be successful they’ll have to find ways to help Gobert impact the game more on defense. This may mean that the Jazz perimeter defenders have to defend even better. Easier said then done when your guarding a hall of fame back court.
The one bright spot for the Jazz was the play of Royce O’neale. He guarded James Harden as well as anyone and was hitting his threes on the offensive end. More than once his play put a little life into the Jazz only to have those small sparks put out by the Rocket’s hot shooting.
Whatever the case, the Utah Jazz have a lot of adjustments to make if they want a chance to even things up in Game 4.