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Utah Jazz at Houston Rockets: 5 Things to Watch

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Bring it back against the Rockets!

NBA: Utah Jazz at Houston Rockets Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

It’s a down time to be a Jazz fan. Let’s turn that frown upside down with some gifs!

1. Injuries

The injury streak continues:

  • Derrick Favors: Knee Contusion
  • George Hill: Thumb
  • Alec Burks: Ankle surgery
  • Boris Diaw: Charlotte-itis

On the flip side, the Rockets are currently quite healthy, with no injuries to report.

2. Three Point Shooting

Splash!...??!

The Rockets are the third best three point shooting team in the NBA right now, with a three point percentage of 37.4%. Their top shooters all have amazing percentages while taking a lot of three pointers:

  • PG James Harden: 0.375 (3.0/8.0)
  • SG Eric Gordon: 0.387 (3.0/7.8)
  • SF Trevor Ariza: 0.386 (2.8/7.3)
  • PF Ryan Anderson: 0.429 (2.8/6.4)

The Jazz, on the other hand, have several good three point shooters, but don’t take as many as the Rockets. Additionally, Gordon Hayward and Trey Lyles are shooting horribly from three. Overall, 34.0% is a hair below average. However, in the last five games, the Jazz are a bona fide cold streak: 34/135 or just over 25%. For the season, the Jazz’s most prolific and best shooting players are:

  • Rodney Hood: 0.386 (2.3/5.8)
  • Gordon Hayward: 0.225 (1.3/5.7)
  • George Hill: 0.432 (2.3/5.3)
  • Trey Lyles: 0.224 (0.8/3.8)
  • Joe Johnson: 0.472 (1.3/2.8)
  • Joe Ingles: 0.400 (0.8/1.9)

Clearly, the Rockets will live and die by the three, but they seem to hit enough of them to continue a sustainable offense, while the Jazz can’t seem to buy a bucket from deep, despite getting numerous open looks through their offense.

3. Assists and Ball Movement

James Harden, a newly minted point guard, is currently averaging 12.8 assists. The Utah Jazz haven’t seen those levels of assists since Deron Williams, and that number since John Stockton all the way back in the day. Current Jazz assist leader is George Hill, with 5.0 per night. Gordon Hayward is second with 3.9. As a whole, the Jazz average only 17.7 a game in comparison the Rockets’ 24.1 assists.

4. Rebounds

Despite their reputation as a shooting team, the Rockets still are the 6th best rebounding team in the league, and 3rd in offensive rebounds. On the other hand, the Jazz are the 3rd best rebounding team, largely due to their far-and-away lead in defensive rebounding, where they rank first. However, their weak offensive rebounding is only 23rd in the game, which may not be enough to take advantage of the Rockets’ mediocre (14th ranked) defensive rebounding.

5. Momentum

The Jazz looked to have some amazing momentum after going 4-1 on their East Coast Road trip with 5 games in 7 nights. Gordon Hayward was finally playing like the all-star the Jazz needed, Rodney Hood and Rudy Gobert made plays down the stretch. But then the Jazz returned home. While the first loss to Miami could be attributed to the fact that the Jazz had just reached their 6 city in 9 days, scoring only 77 points in a loss to the Bulls, at home, on two days rest, is no recipe for a contender. While Houston also hasn’t really been on a hot streak, they’ve been competitive in the games they should be, and won the games they should have: a close two point loss to the Thunder, a blowout win over the Trail Blazers and 76ers, splitting a home-and-home against the Spurs (who are surprisingly undefeated on the road, but 50-50 at home).

It seem like the Jazz are disadvantaged in pretty much every category here. So, of course, this is the opportunity to prove everyone wrong. Go Jazz!