Well, here we are. It’s the second round of the playoffs, and it’s the rebirth of an old playoff rivalry with the Utah Jazz.
Now the Houston Rockets got some great news just before the game, when it was revealed that Luc Mbah a Moute, who missed the entire first-round series with the Minnesota Timberwolves with a shoulder injury, will be back in the lineup today.
Per MDA, Luc Mbah a Moute will play today as the Rockets begin their series with the Utah Jazz— Craig Ackerman (@ca_rockets) April 29, 2018
It’s unknown right now how much court time Mbah a Moute will see, but his presence will obviously be a huge boost to the team’s defensive versatility.
Consequently, the Jazz will be without starting point guard Ricky Rubio for at least the next 10 days, and it was announced this afternoon that rookie Royce O’Neale will be taking his place in the starting lineup.
As expected Royce O'Neale to start for Jazz with Rubio out vs. Rockets today. Gives Jazz an all rookie starting backcourt.— Jonathan Feigen (@Jonathan_Feigen) April 29, 2018
That should give the Rockets a slight advantage over the Jazz, and it’ll be important for Houston to set the tone for the series in today’s contest at the Toyota Center. The Rockets have been off a bit longer than the Jazz, so they’ll hopefully feed off of the home crowd to come out in rhythm.
If you haven’t already, check out AK’s preview, and relish in the fact there’s an old-time hated rival standing between the Rockets and a trip to the Western Conference Finals. It makes it that much sweeter to secure a victory.