Of course it's the Jazz. It's always the Jazz.
They couldn't just fade away. New coach, new system, a baby-face starting at small forward, and Devin FREAKIN' Harris is their leading scorer recently. They shouldn't be hanging around.
But they're the Jazz. The bane of our existence. Of course they're still here. Of course they're chasing us.
And of course the Spurs didn't take their Big Three on the road to face them. Hey Spurs, remember last year when you did that against the Grizzlies? And that helped the Grizz clinch the 8 seed? How did that turn out for you? Yeah, I thought so.
The Jazz are still 1.5 games out of the eighth spot, and with Dallas faltering they have to be foaming at the mouth. They have to hope that the Rockets sweep their home-and-home with the Nuggets. Part of me hopes we don't send anyone but Courtney Fortson to Denver for that game.
Thus starts yet another important homestand for the Rockets. Utah tonight then Phoenix Friday. Winning both games could wrap this sucker up for the good guys. The team that goes better than .500 out of the three teams will get a huge momentum boost. Meaning, going 1-1 is okay for the Rockets, but it will give hope to the team that beats them. Going 0-2 would be a disaster, as it would further muddy the already turbid waters of the Western Conference playoff race.
Other games in the NBA tonight that matter to the Rockets:
Knicks vs. Bucks
Clippers vs. Thunder
Suns vs. Grizzlies
Lakers vs. Spurs
Timberwolves vs. Nuggets
Tip is at 7pm CST.
Matchups after the jump.
PG: Goran Dragic vs. Devin Harris:
Kevin McHale on Dragic (via Friedman):
Goran had what I've grown to expect out of him over the last five or six weeks. He goes out there and gets 22 and 7, and you go ‘Solid game, Goran.' You know you're playing good when you do that.
SG: Courtney Lee vs. Gordon Hayward:
I like the guy with the girl's name over the guy with the baby's face.
SF: Chandler Parsons vs. Derrick Favors:
Before you go, "Favors isn't a small forward! You're an idiot. TRADE AK WITH K-MART!!!" let me explain myself.
Normally C.J. Miles starts at small forward, but he's probably out. So DeMarre Carroll starts. But he won't play much. In fact, against the Spurs, he played 11 minutes despite starting. Favors played 31 minutes, meaning I had to put him in here. I guess Millsap slides down to the three when the three bigs play together, but the Rockets can actually counter this if it happens with Patterson, Dalembert, and Camby playing together.
PF: Luis Scola vs. Paul Millsap:
Oh dear. Millsap is going to have a field day as Scola does his Argentine Tango on defense. I want to expect Patterson to play a lot tonight, but with McHale I never know. It's not much use trying to figure him out.
This matchup is big. If the Rockets 4s can neutralize Millsap that would be a big plus for the Cardiac Kids.
C: Marcus Camby vs. Al Jefferson:
Really Old Anthony Davis gives the Rockets a ROAD that Cormac McCarthy would be proud of.
This is such an important matchup that I can't overstate its importance, but I'll try.
Blazers: DeMarre Carroll, Jamaal Tinsley, Jeremy Evans, Alec Burks, Enes Kanter
Rockets: Earl Boykins, Chase Budinger, Kyle Lowry, Patrick Patterson, Samuel Dalembert
Jazz: C.J. Miles out, Earl Watson out, Josh Howard out
Rockets: K-Mart out
Prediction: Rockets 100-95
Now Dave can't fire me.
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Jazz vs Rockets coverage
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