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Utah Jazz at Houston Rockets Game Preview

Make the bleeding stop!

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

Tonight the Utah Jazz (7-6) travel to Houston to face the Rockets (7-5) after a disappointing loss to the Chicago Bulls. It’s not going to be easy as it looks like both George Hill and Derrick Favors will be out again.

Alec Burks continues to exist but is out with his left knee injury and let’s hope that Rodney Hood is over the sickness he’s been dealing with.

The Jazz will be limping into this one after two straight losses and it won’t be an easy win as they are facing a Rockets team coming off a win over Portland. But there are some bright spots. The Jazz have struggled to score in both of their last two games but the Rockets are sporting the 24th ranked defense in the league. If the Jazz can find a rhythm, they have a real chance as their defense has stayed solid at #9 in the league, even with all the injuries.

Marquee Match-Up: Gordon Hayward vs James Harden

James Harden is completely ridiculous right now averaging 28.5 points, 8.2 rebounds and 12.8 assists (insert scared face emoji). If Gordon Hayward and the Jazz can slow him down, or somehow get him into foul trouble there’s a real chance. Per basketball reference, the Rockets have an offensive rating of 118.8 with Harden on the court and a 91.8 with him off. If Gordon can attack Harden, he’ll either get him into foul trouble or get easy buckets as Harden will most likely slack off to stay in the game.

X-Factor: Rudy Gobert

Kevin Pelton’s Real Plus Minus for this week came out and Rudy shined as the #2 Center in the league behind Demarcus Cousins. I’m telling you, Rudy is a star and vastly underappreciated by national pundits. Hopefully advanced stats like RPM will get more people to “take note” what Rudy is doing.

If the Jazz can cover Houston’s wide array of three point shooting and Rudy can solidify the paint, the Jazz have a chance to slow down the potent Houston offense.

Prediction: Jazz Loss

Gordon has struggled the last few games which probably comes from pain in his finger, Rodney is still suffering from some sort of sickness and we’re missing Favs and George which means a healthy dose of Shelvin Mack, Jeff Withey and Boris Diaw. A lot of this game will depend on young Dante Exum (who’s looked solid the last couple games) and Shelvin Mack both scoring and defending. It’s most likely not enough.