A lot has changed for the Utah Jazz since the last time they met the Houston Rockets. They lost Rudy Gobert once again, but got Rodney Hood back. Oh, and Donovan Mitchell has exploded onto the national scene.
After Houston went to SLC and dominated the second half, the Jazz have been on an extended road trip. Utah is currently 1-3 on the trip, with losses at Milwaukee, Chicago, and Cleveland. Their one win? Boston, somehow. Utah is now 14-16 and sitting in the ninth spot in the Western Conference. However, they are just 3 games out of fourth place. With the volatility of the Western Conference middle class, Utah needs to stay above water until they get back to 100%. They finish December with a brutal slate: at Houston, at OKC, vs. San Antonio, vs. OKC, at Denver, at Golden State, and vs. Cleveland. Good luck with that.
The point in all of that is that Utah has to try to steal a couple of those games. The Denver and OKC games look ripe, but the Rockets have a target on their backs. We’ve seen with Golden State where teams beat the Warriors and it gives them a huge boost in confidence. Beat the Dubs and inevitably you’ll go on a winning streak. Houston isn’t Golden State, but the springboard effect will be something that teams will look to enjoy.
The Rockets, meanwhile, haven’t lost since these teams last met. Maybe you’ve heard.
For Houston, Clint Capela is questionable and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute is still out. For Utah’s part, they will be missing Rudy Gobert. Derrick Favors is questionable.
One final note: I will be at this game thanks to tickets from a friend. Once I know where my seat is, I’ll tweet it out. If you come find me, your drink of choice will be on me.
Tip-off is at 7pm CT