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Houston Rockets vs. Utah Jazz game preview

Utah Jazz v Houston Rockets - Game Five Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images

The Rockets travel to Salt Lake City tonight for the dreaded Denver-Utah back-to-back that has been a nightmare for teams. With the altitude issues compounded by the raucous crowd, this will be a tough one for the good guys to escape unscathed.

The NBA is still dealing with the tragedy of Kobe Bryant’s death yesterday and the Rockets were clearly affected. Several players, including James Harden and Russell Westbrook, idolized Bryant and his contributions to the game are immeasurable.

Speaking of Harden, he’s doubtful with a thigh contusion that caused him to miss the Denver game. Houston will miss him greatly, especially with how well the Jazz are playing.

Utah was my pick to finish with the best record in the Western Conference. They started slowly but they’ve been red-hot lately. Their offseason acquisitions were smart, though Mike Conley got off to a slow start and then caught the injury bug.

The Jazz should win this game, especially if Harden is out.

Tip-off is at 8pm CT on NBA TV