The hot-start Utah Jazz take on the Houston Rockets tonight to wrap up a three-game road trip on the heels of their second straight overtime victory last night against the New Orleans Pelicans.
It was all vibes after Kelly Olynyk’s late layup to put the Jazz over the Pelicans:
The 3-0 Jazz have taken the league and fanbase by surprise in taking down three West contenders to begin the season and demonstrating an exciting brand of basketball: aggressive defense forcing turnovers, loads of 3’s, and a whole lot of trust and try-hard.
The Houston Rockets, meanwhile, are a lowly 0-3 after some buzz about the team exceeding expectations with sophomores Jalen Green and Alperen Sengun looking to take the team to the next level alongside exciting rookies Jabari Smith and Tari Eason.
Two teams expected to lose but seeing different results from rosters laden with youth and experience will take the floor tonight in Houston. Should be a fun one!
The Houston Rockets have been on the unfortunate end of dreadful 3P luck. Outlier shooting nights in their last two contests against the Memphis Grizzlies and Milwaukee Bucks saw 15+ triples and 40%+ shooting each.
The currently rank dead last in defense per Cleaning the Glass. They’re particularly susceptible defending in transition, ranking 3rd worst in opponent efficiency off steals.
Not a ton is going right for them outside of protecting the boards really well on both ends and not fouling.
The Rockets are led on offense by Jalen Green with 12.5 true shooting attempts per game above league average at -1.7% true shooting below league average. Look for him to shoot a lot of threes and deploy his outstanding athleticism going at the rim.
The Utah Jazz, on the other hand, are the 6th ranked offense in the NBA and the 14th ranked defense. They’ve made a name for themselves in crashing the offensive boards and forcing turnovers defensively.
A fair amount of their 3-0 success thus far has been shooting luck dependent:
The Utah Jazz advantage from the 3P line thus far is a fairly large asterisk on their 3-0 start:— Adam Bushman (@adam_bushman) October 24, 2022
vs DEN: +16
vs MIN: +17
vs NOP: +11
vs DEN: +19.4%
vs MIN: +6.7%
vs NOP: +4.6%
That's good strategy but A LOT of luck benefiting UTA
Jazz are led offensively by a two-headed monster of Lauri Markkanen and Jordan Clarkson, taking 10.4 and 7.1 true shooting attempts above league average and scoring at +5.0% and +2.3% above league average respectively.
You’ll want to watch the rebounding battle between these teams and how Houston defends in transition. Also, sustained shooting luck is probably the biggest factor to ensure a 4-0 start.
The Jazz are playing their 4th game in 6 nights, featuring two OT victories, and wrapping up a 3 game road trip. This could very well be a scheduled loss. Per FiveThirtyEight, however, Utah is a 5 point favorite (69% probability for a win).
Per NBA.com at 9:30 AM, the Houston Rockets will be without three roster members:
- Versatile big Jae’Sean Tate due to left ankle soreness
- Rookie guard TyTy Washington Jr. with a left knee sprain
- Center Bruno Fernando with left knee soreness
Only Fernando has suited up for the Rockets thus far, demonstrating rebounding and passing ability against the Atlanta Hawks. Tate is one of the Rockets’ primary defenders and a key part of their transition game.
As of this morning the Utah Jazz have no reported players unavailable for the game though Udoka Azubuike is a likely scratch from the contest.
When: 6:00 PM MT
Where: Toyota Center, Houston, TX
Radio: 97.5/1280 The Zone