On the back end of a back to back and the third game in four nights, the Utah Jazz faltered late and lost to the Houston Rockets, 114-108.
With a lot of hands on knees at the free throw line, it was obvious the Jazz were exhausted and the numbers showed it. Lauri Markkanen struggled in this one going just 7/19 from the field and 0/6 from three. It’s not surprising, Markkanen has been incredible this season and it would be a big ask for him to have another huge outing as the Jazz’s primary scorer on the wing. Outside of Markkanen, the Jazz had solid outings from most of their players. It’s a testament to how well the Jazz are playing that this game came down to the end.
The Jazz really lost this one on the defensive end. With heavy legs, the Jazz struggled to keep the Rockets from scoring and by the end the Rockets youth and athleticism was a little too much.
Even though it was a loss, there were some bright spots in this game. Jarred Vanderbilt had a double double with 13 points and 11 rebounds. He is getting more comfortable on the offensive end and has really established himself as a menace on the defensive end. Each night he flies from side to side on the court disrupting offenses. He has a chance to be a real star defender for years to come.
Mike Conley had another nice assist night. A down night for Conley now means 7 assists which is pretty good considering 7 assists would have seemed like a lot last season.
We got a look at Simone Fontecchio, and he looked good! For the game, Fontecchio was 5/9 from the field and 3/5 from three. His offense put a jolt in the Jazz in the fourth quarter and gave them a chance. We’ll see if Fontecchio can keep up on the defensive end, but he certainly looked like an NBA player on the offensive end with his ability to shoot the three and drive to the rim. He also looks bigger than you expect. Standing at 6’8”, he adds a lot of size to the rotation and gives him some nice upside.
The Jazz fall to 3-1 in this one but of all the losses this was probably the best one to lose if you had to choose. At the end of the year these two teams may be close to each other at the bottom of the standings and a tiebreaker for the Jazz would be real nice if the Jazz have a few ping pong balls on the line.