The Houston Rockets try to take a 2-0 lead in their best-of-seven series against the Utah Jazz in what should be a defensive battle on Wednesday night.
Tuesday, April 16 at 9:30 PM ET
The Jazz suffered a 122-90 setback on Sunday, their second-largest playoff loss in franchise history (behind a 96-54 loss to the Chicago Bulls during Game 3 of the 1998 NBA Finals).
Utah is one of the NBA's top defensive teams, they ranked second on defensive efficiency, allowing 103.2 points per 100 possessions in the regular season, led by their paint protector. Rudy Gobert. The Rockets were sixteenth at 107.9, so few believe they can defend well but they did just that in Game 1.
The Rockets limited the Jazz to just 39.0 percent shooting (30-for-77) and 25.9 percent from downtown (7-for-27). Donovan Mitchell was just 7-for-18 from the field with five rebounds, five turnovers and no assists, which won't take the Jazz far in this series.
Their other playmaker, starting point guard Ricky Rubio returned from a quad bruise that forced him to miss the last three games and he had 15 points and six assists.
Utah's bench was one of their strengths in the regular season, scoring at least 50 points in 13 games but they finished with just 18 points on 4-for-26 shooting, including 2-for-13 from 3-point range.
The Under is:
5-1 in Utah's last six games following a straight up loss
9-2 in Utah's last 11 games following an ATS loss
6-2 in Utah's last eight Wednesday games
8-3-1 in Utah's last 12 games playing on two days of rest
11-5 in Utah's last 16 games against Western Conference opponents
7-1-1 in Houston's last nine home games
10-3-1 in Houston's last 14 games when their opponent allows 100 points or more in their previous game
19-7-2 in Houston's last 28 games after scoring 100 points or more in their previous game
18-7-1 in Houston's last 26 overall.
50-24-1 in Houston's last 75 games against a team with a winning percentage above .600
4-1 in the last five meetings
Clint Capela played through an upper respiratory infection and still had 16 points and 12 rebounds for a Rockets team that outscored the Jazz 62-42 in the paint. Eric Gordon scored 17 points and helped contain Donovan Mitchell.
Gobert and Mitchell can't let Capela and Gordon win their matchups with them or it will be another long night for the Jazz.
"No assists. Five turnovers. That's huge," Mitchell said about his assist-to-turnover ratio. "You can't have no assists and five turnovers." The Jazz will make adjustments and not overreact to what happened in Game 1 and the Rockets have an underrated defense.
NBA Pick: Under 212.5 (-110) at Jazz Sports
Check odds here: http://bit.ly/jazzonaff