Houston Rockets vs Utah Jazz

The Houston Rockets can close out their opening series as they take on the Utah Jazz in Salt Lake City in hopes of a sweep. This first round matchup will air on TNT and tip-off on Monday, April 22nd at 10:30 pm EST.

How to Watch

Where: Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City, UT, USA

When: Monday, April 22nd at 10:30 pm EST

How (TV): TNT

Houston Rockets (Away)

Head Coach: Mike D'Antoni {All-Time: 628-499 | PHX, NYK, LAL, HOU}

Season Record: 53-29

Projected Starting Five: (G) Chris Paul - (G) James Harden - (G) Eric Gordon - (F) P.J. Tucker - (C) Clint Capela

Top Performers

  • G James Harden - 36.1 PPG | 7.5 APG | .368 3P%
  • C Clint Capela - 16.6 PPG | 12.7 RPG | 1.5 BPG
  • G Chris Paul - 15.6 PPG | 8.2 APG | 2.0 SPG

After two straight blowout victories, the Houston Rockets had to fight for a 3-0 series advantage on the road, coming away with a 104-101 win over the Utah Jazz on Saturday night.

The league's scoring leader, James Harden, was the top scorer for Houston with 22 points despite shooting an awful 3 for 20 from the field, including 2 of 13 from three-point range. The Beard did what he does best, getting to the charity stripe 16 times while converting on 14 of the attempts. Harden also managed to nab six steals.

Point guard Chris Paul added 18 points in the win, while fellow starters Eric Gordon and P.J. Tucker each chipped in with a dozen.

The Rockets were able to emerge victorious, despite shooting 38.4% from the field, compared to the Jazz who shot 41.6%.

Utah Jazz (Home)

Head Coach: Quin Snyder {All-Time: | UTA}

Season Record: 50-32

Projected Starting Five: (G) Ricky Rubio - (G) Donovan Mitchell - (F) Joe Ingles - (F) Derrick Favors - (C) Rudy Gobert

Top Performers

  • G Donovan Mitchell - 23.8 PPG | 4.2 APG | 1.4 SPG
  • C Rudy Gobert - 15.9 PPG | 12.9 RPG | 2.3 BPG
  • G Ricky Rubio - 12.7 PPG | 6.1 APG | 1.3 SPG

For the Utah Jazz, this game ended up being a one-man show with Donovan Mitchell scoring 34 points in the loss. Mitchell was the only Jazz player to record double-digit attempts from the field.

Utah's emerging star did not get much help from his teammates, as Derrick Favors came off the bench to score 13 points after starting the first two games of the series. Center Rudy Gobert and point guard Ricky Rubio were the only other double-digit scorers with 10 points each, while Gobert also contributed seven blocked shots.

Utah's biggest downfall came at the free throw line, where the Jazz managed to miss 13 of their 38 attempts. Every player who went to the line for the Jazz managed to miss at least one shot from the charity stripe. Mitchell was the worst offender with four misses on his 17 tries.

What's At Stake?

With a win in this game, Houston will secure the franchises first-ever sweep in a best-of-seven first round series. The last time the Rockets completed a sweep in the first round was in 1997 when they eliminated the Minnesota Timberwolves, back when the first-round series were best-of-five.

The Jazz will look to avoid getting swept for the first time since 2012 when they got bounced by the Spurs. Utah has had some recent success in game fours, as they managed to win their last two first-round game fours from the previous two postseasons.

Jazz Making Paul Uncomfortable

If the Rockets manage to sweep the Jazz on Monday, Chris Paul will be glad to have Utah in his rearview mirror. In five total games against the Jazz this year (regular season and playoffs), the nine-time All-Star has averaged four turnovers per game.

In addition to his ball security woes, Paul has not exactly been shooting lights out against Utah either, as he is 4 for 22 behind the arc in those five games against the Jazz.

Ricky Rubio is Under-Appreciated

Long known for his passing and court vision all the way back to his Minnesota days, Ricky Rubio is always overlooked when it comes to his abilities on defense. The Spaniard, who is averaging just under two steals per game over his career, has been utilizing his above average wingspan to disrupt passing lanes and pickpocket defenders.

With 2.7 steals per game in this series, Rubio has not been slacking on the defensive end. Even though his jump shot has been a let down for most of his career, he has found other ways to contribute to make his shooting woes a non-factor.

Houston Rockets Roster Notes

There are no injuries or roster changes to report for the Rockets.

Utah Jazz Roster Notes

G Dante Exum - 15 Mar 2019 - Out (Right Knee Pain) - Exum is out indefinitely with a torn patellar tendon in his right knee, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic.

X-Factors: Clint Capela (HOU) vs Rudy Gobert (UTA)

With traditional centers largely getting phased out of the NBA, this series has been a real treat for NBA fans who like to reminisce about the 90's era low post bruisers. Two European centers who fit that bill will face off once more, as Clint Capela will take on Rudy Gobert, with the two bigs combining for just five three-point attempts in their careers.

Clint Capela

Center | 6-10, 240lb (208cm, 108kg) | Switzerland | Exp. 4 Years

16.6 PPG | 1.4 APG | 12.7 RPG | 0.7 SPG | 1.5 BPG | 1.4 TOV | .648 FG% | .000 3P%

Once considered a project pick back in 2014, Clint Capela has blossomed into a valuable asset for coach Mike D'Antoni. The Swiss import has been one of the top shot blockers in the league since his sophomore season in 2015-2016. In addition, he has become arguably the best offensive rebounder, often cleaning up his teammates' misses with emphatic putback dunks. He has quickly become Chris Paul's favorite alley-oop target with his length and athleticism.

Rudy Gobert

Center | 7-1, 245lb (216cm, 111kg) | France | Exp. 5 Years

15.9 PPG | 2.0 APG | 12.9 RPG | 0.8 SPG | 2.3 BPG | 1.6 TOV | .669 FG% | .000 3P%

Like Capela, Rudy Gobert was a raw prospect when he was drafted by Denver in 2013. Fast forward five seasons and Gobert has been a force in the paint, leading the league in blocked shots in 2016-2017. Although he is not as athletic as Capela, the Frenchman has displayed nice touch around the basket, leading the league in field goal percentage this season.

Houston Rockets at Utah Jazz Predictions and Odds

If you are in New Jersey and want to bet on the Rockets vs Jazz, you can do so right here with the following sportsbooks: 

Sportsbook Houston Rockets Utah Jazz Link
888Sport NJ -148 +123
BetStars NJ -137 +120

* 21+ | NJ only | If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, call 1-800-GAMBLER

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