Since going to their Pocket Rockets lineup before the deadline, the Rockets are 7-2 in games in which they primarily used small ball. One of those two losses came on a back-to-back without Russell Westbrook against a Phoenix Suns team that went nuclear.
The other loss came on a Bojan Bogdanovic buzzer beater at Toyota Center.
This is a hugely important game for both teams as it will decide the tiebreaker between them. The teams have split the first two meetings with both squads winning on the road. Now Utah gets to host the rubber match. A win for Houston would in fact tie the two teams in the standings, giving Houston a home court spot in the first round. If Utah wins, the Jazz solidify themselves as a top 4 team in the West and make Houston’s life much more difficult as the good guys would then need serious help to get home court in the opening series of the playoffs.
The Jazz are going to hit the Rockets with Rudy Gobert, Donovan Mitchell, and a bunch of shooters and scorers. The Rockets will counter with James Harden, Westbrook, and shooters that can switch on defense. Utah is the only team to have seen the “full strength” Rockets playing small ball once, so it will be interesting to see if they’ve done their homework and developed new ways of attacking Houston.
Tip-off is at 8pm CT