Matchup: Utah Jazz vs Houston Rockets
Records: Jazz (14-16); Rockets (14-14)
Where to Watch
Date: Tuesday, Dec. 18
TV: Sony ESPN
Location: Toyota Center, Houston, TX
For only the second time in the last three weeks, the Houston Rockets have a record of .500 or better and over the past couple of games, James Harden has been the primary reason for the team wins.
Over the last two games against the Los Angeles Lakers and Memphis Grizzlies, Harden is averaging 41.0 points, 11 rebounds, 10.5 assists, and 2.0 steals on 57.5% shooting from the field.
Despite their 14-14 season so far, it's been a fairly positive December for the Rockets so far and this contest against Jazz will be a great test for Houston's momentum (3-game win streak and a 5-3 record in December so far). Unfortunately, unlike last season, Mike D'Antoni and the team have failed to establish any consistency, as they have more often than not followed up win streaks by with losing streaks.
The Rockets have struggled to find an identity so far and their roster depth, or lack thereof, has hurt them tremendously. Houston was a contending team on both ends of the floor last season but the 7th ranked defense from last season has now slipped down to the 3rd worst.
Fortunately, for the Rockets, the Jazz haven't been a hallmark for consistency this year either. They have failed to win more than three games in a row and more often that not have lost consecutive games.
Going by the numbers, their struggling offense (23rd - 106.2) has not been able to help their top-10 defense (8th - 106.3).
Was Utah's 29-6 run to end the 2017-18 a case of them overperforming and catching all their opponents at the right time? Did this second-half run unfailry exceed the expectations for this team?
Their current team seems to be performing like a shell of last year's team that went on that spectacular run. To be fair, the team has played far more games in road arenas (19) than on their home floor (11). To make up for this, going forward, the Jazz have nine of their next fifteen games on their home floor at the Vivint Smart Home Arena.
As things stand right now, Utah are the third-worst team in the Western Conference.
- This will be the Rockets' 13th home game and they are 7-5 in the prior twelve games. Meanwhile, the Jazz in their 9-10 in their 19 road games played so far.
- This is the third Rockets-Jazz contest so far this season and both the previous games, Utah has won by a combined margin of 38 points.
- Houston has four players that are expected to miss this clash - Carmelo Anthony (Coach's decision), James Ennis (Hamstring), Zhou Qi (Ankle) and Marquese Chriss (Ankle).
- On the other hand, the Jazz only one player expected to miss the contest - Naz Mitrou-Long (Knee).
Last Time They Played
Date: Dec. 7, 2018
Score: Jazz 118, Rockets 91
Jazz: Derrick Favors - 24 points, 10 rebounds, 1 steal and 1 block on 76.9% shooting
Rockets: Clint Capela - 12 points, 10 rebounds, and 2 blocks