Coming into a Thursday night matchup vs. the Houston Rockets, the Utah Jazz had lost their last five games by a combined 17 points and no more than 6 in any one game. Utah made sure they did enough to put the game away well before the final possession and snapped the five game losing streak with a decisive road win. It wasn’t the dominating win that the Jazz might hope for against a team that is last in the Western Conference, but I am sure the Jazz will take any kind of win after being on such a long losing streak.
Despite the loss, Houston’s young stars played pretty well offensively. Star Jalen Green scored 30 points with 4 assists and 4 rebounds to go with it(although he shot an inefficient 8 for 24). Rising star Alperen Sengun also recorded a double double with 20 points and 14 rebounds. The culprit for the Rockets tonight was defense. Utah made 19 threes and Jazz forward Lauri Markkanen shot over 50% from the field, which helped open the floor for everybody else to score in a variety of different ways. Houston gave a valiant effort to keep the game close most of the time but their inability to get stops in key moments was what did them in tonight.
Lauri Markkenen was the player of the game and the MVP for the Jazz tonight. The team played well enough as a group to overcome adversity and withstand the feisty Rockets. But Markkanen continued his campaign for a Western conference all-star spot with a whopping 49 points and 8 rebounds. The most impressive part of the game for Markkanen was in the 4th quarter when he poured in 14 points and took over when the Jazz offense seemed to stall a bit midway through the final frame. Malik Beasley also had a big game off the bench with 19 points. The Jazz ability to play well as a team and keep the Rockets at bay most of the game was critical to picking up the win tonight.
It’s a disappointing loss for Houston who now has a five game losing streak of their own. Utah starts their 3 game road trip on the right note. Houston will try to regroup in time for their meeting at home against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Sunday, while the Jazz travel to Chicago for a tilt with the Bulls on Saturday. GO Jazz