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Game thread: Rockets vs. Jazz

The Rockets are down a few guys tonight in Utah.

NBA: Utah Jazz at Houston Rockets Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

It’s shaping up to be a challenging night for the Houston Rockets. We already know it’s night two of a back-to-back. But we weren’t expecting the Rockets to be handling it so shorthanded.

Houston will be without Eric Gordon once again, and they’ll also be down Clint Capela, who seems to have caught the same bug that Gordon is carrying around, and they’ll also be without Ryan Anderson, who is battling a sore hip and Brandan Wright, who is dealing with a sore knee after all of one appearance and 15 minutes of court time in a Rockets uniform.

But this is why Daryl Morey went out and secured the Rockets so much depth this season. They’ll still be rolling with a starting five of Chris Paul, James Harden, Trevor Ariza, P.J. Tucker and Tarik Black. Joe Johnson, Luc Mbah a Moute, Gerald Green, and Nene will be the primaries off the bench, so this is still a team that can do a lot of damage.

Amazing, isn’t it, that with four guys out, the Rockets still have a legitimate 9-man rotation to trot out there.

But with tired legs after a close one in Denver last night, the Rockets will be at a disadvantage playing against a Utah Jazz squad that’s won 9 of their last 10 games and is scraping and clawing for a shot at the playoffs. They’ll be playing hard tonight.

The Rockets will need to be on point to keep their 12-game winning streak alive, and I think they have the chops to do it, even with the missing personnel.

Oh, did I mention that I hate the Jazz? I know it do it every time I cover a Utah game, but it’s worth repeating. The Jazz are my most hated team in all of professional sports. It’s a leftover from the John Stockton / Karl Malone / Jeff Hornacek days (though I did really hate the Carlos Boozer, Mehmet Okur iteration as well), but there’s not a team in any other sport that makes me as nauseous as Utah. Not the New England Patriots, not the Dallas Cowboys, not the Golden State Warriors, and not even the Yankees.

I despise them with a burning, seething, unnatural hate that I can’t even properly explain now that I don’t seriously dislike a specific player on their team any longer, and in fact, even kind of like a few — Rudy Gobert, Donovon Mitchell, Ricky Rubio. But at the end of the day, they’re still the damn Utah Jazz.

Go Rockets!