Game 51 Preview: Houston Rockets vs. Utah Jazz

Can I ever use any other picture?

Normally, I love writing previews about the Jazz and how much I hate them. They are the only team that can get me to swear (Jazzholes is about the worst thing you'll hear me say here) and the hatred just fuels me. There's nothing quite like it. I feel like Edmond Dantes, minus the revenge factor. Heck, let's throw in the revenge factor anyway. And Dumas would be so proud of me for that reference. Mega proud son!

Of course, this being a back-to-back makes it difficult to produce the caustic and hard-hitting journalism you've come to expect from me. I know it's a bit of a disappointment, but what can I say? I have faith that the Rockets can keep this game close. I have faith that they could make a late run be in a position to win late.

I don't have faith that they'll be able to do anything about it. And what hurts the most is that they can't even give me the satisfaction of beating the team that most of us despise. And the NBA couldn't give us a break with this darn road trip. Four games in six days against four Western Conference playoff teams, including the top three teams in the conference. Did the NBA know that would be a road trip from hell when they designed the schedule? Of course they did. Did they care? Nope.

Let's throw more crap at the Rockets. Kick them while they're down. That will make us feel better. You would think David Stern would spend the rest of his days trying to appease Rick Adelman, whom he famously screwed out of a title, but why do that when you can screw him over some more? I feel like the Rockets have DRAIDS. Please don't get upset. It's from "The League," not some actual disease.

Update: D-Will, Kirilenko, and Okur are out. Gordon Hayward will start. CJ Miles will come off the bench.

I have to post at least one video, so this one will have to do.

Sam Cassell's "Dream Shake" on Kirilenko (via CheckTheRock)

OK, one more. When we join this game, the Jazz are up 82-78 in a best-of-series that's knotted at 2-2. There's only 3:50 left. Of course, a great coach like Jerry Sloan, and two incredible Hall of Famers like John Stockton and Karl Malone could never choke a lead like this away in such a vital situation.

 

1995 HOU UTA Game 5 (9 of 10) (via tjhunt76)

Matchups...

Point Guard

Kyle Lowry vs. Deron Williams: 

I know D-Will is "questionable." He's missed his last three games. But let's be realistic. These are the Rockets. The guy will play tonight. And he'll play well. If by some miracle of the Sports Gods he doesn't play, Earl Watson will play. And he'll play well too.

I know AB hasn't been playing well, but it's time to give him his starting job back. If the Rockets are really looking to trade him, they need to be able to bill him as a starter. And getting to play more minutes will make him more confident and get him his shot back. If they aren't looking to trade him, then if he gets his shot back that would still be great.

Edge: Jazz

Shooting Guard

Kevin Martin vs. Raja Bell

I wish the rest of the Rockets played with K-Mart's intensity of offense all the time. I want them to ignore his defense, but respect what he does on O. 

Raja Bell is a punk. And he plays for the Jazz, so his family is damned to douchedom.

Edge: Rockets

Small Forward

Shane Battier vs. Andrei Kirilenko

If Shane Battier is Captain Awesome, Andrei is Captain Turd Nugget. Kirilenko is also questionable for the game. So if he doesn't play, expect C.J. Miles to play.

Edge: Even

Power Forward

Luis Scola vs. Paul Millsap

The only reason to like Paul Millsap is that he's not Carlos Boozer.

Also, he killed us last time, so hopefully his questionable status means he won't play. Again, these are the Rockets so don't count on it. If he doesn't play, Elson or Fesenko may play and push Al Jefferson down here or they may just play with two big bodies in the post. I don't know.

Edge: Even, hopefully

Center

Chuck Hayes vs. Al Jefferson

Only one player on the Rockets besides Jordan Hill (who played less than 3 minutes, so he doesn't count) had a +/- that was positive. Can you figure it out without looking? Probably not. The answer is Patrick Patterson. But we don't need to give him more minutes. Nah. Just leave him on the bench.

Chuck calls Al Jefferson one of his two toughest guards in the league. Sweet.

Edge:Jazz

Bench

Jazz: C.J. Miles, Gordon Hayward, Earl Watson, Jeremy Evans, Ronnie Price, Kyrylo Fesenk, Francisco Elson

Rockets: Brooks, Courtney Lee, Chase Budinger, Patrick Patterson

Edge: Rockets. Not even close, except our bench hasn't been great recently.

Injuries

Jazz: Mehmet Okur day-to-day, Paul Millsap questionable, Deron Williams questionable, Andrei Kirilenko questionable

Rockets: Brad Miller out, Jordan Hill (?)

Prognosis: Hopeful, but ultimately devastating

Rockets vs Jazz coverage

SLC Dunk

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