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Utah Jazz look to stay alive in Houston

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If there’s one thing we’ve learned this season, don’t count out the Jazz

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

The Utah Jazz have had a difficult time stopping James Harden and will now have to it without Dante Exum. It’s a tough loss considering he’s had the most success guarding Harden of anyone on the Jazz. This puts even more pressure on Royce O’neale and Donovan Mitchell.

But if we’ve learned anything this series, and this season, don’t bet against Donovan Mitchell and the Utah Jazz.

Before the season started, we predicted that Mitchell would be starting by the all-star break.

It took him a couple weeks.

Mitchell’s 9.3 ppg in October (on 32% shooting) seemed like a good starting point for a promising young prospect to build on. We had talked on the SLC Punks podcast that maybe by the end of season he’d end around 14-16 ppg.

He averaged 18 ppg in November.

After two injuries to Rudy Gobert and the Jazz loss to the league’s worst team, the Atlanta Hawks, it looked like the season might be over. #TankNote was in full effect here and I was already looking at draft picks that could fit alongside our explosive young rookie and a fully healthy Rudy Gobert.

Then the Jazz went on an unprecedented collection of winning streaks and made the 5 seed in the playoffs.

The Houston Rockets are a fantastic team with an incredible collection of talent that works seamlessly together, but if there’s one thing the 2017-18 Utah Jazz have taught us. Never say never.


Game Info

When: 6:00MT • Tuesday May 8th, 2018

Where: Toyota Center · Houston, Texas

TV: TNT, TNTOT, AT&T Sports Net - Rocky Mountain

Radio: 1280 AM/97.5 FM The Zone,

Injuries:

Utah Jazz:

Thabo Sefolosha - Knee - Out for season

Ricky Rubio - Hamstring - Out for 10 days

Dante Exum - Hamstring - day to day

Houston Rockets:

Nobody - somehow


What to watch for

Donovan Mitchell vs. James Harden

Donovan Mitchell was not happy after the game with James Harden.

Game 5 was a tough loss for the Jazz where James Harden’s style of play brought out a lot of frustration in not just Donovan Mitchell, but Dante Exum and the rest of the Jazz team.

With their backs against the wall, you can count on the Jazz to leave everything on the floor. During the season there were too many times where the Jazz were counted out. With the Jazz facing elimination, now’s not the time to bet against Donovan Mitchell and the Utah Jazz.