Behind James Harden’s massive 41 point night, the Houston Rockets took care of the Utah Jazz with relative ease. Part of this could be explained by the Utah Jazz coming off a draining series finale with the Thunder only to play the #1 team in the league a day and a half later. But if we’re being honest, this was mostly due to the Houston Rockets being as good as advertised.

If the Jazz want to have any sort of success against the Rockets, they’ll have to find some way to slow Harden. Easier said than done. Harden has been an isolation monster all year and guarding him is nearly impossible. If you guard him close, he can go to the rim and either score, find Clint Capela at the rim or a corner three. If you give him space he takes a step back three and buries it. And all of this happens while he creates fouls at an elite level.

For Jazz fans there were two things to be somewhat optimistic about:

Donovan Mitchell got to where he wanted on the offensive end, even while being guarded by Trevor Ariza for much of the night. If he can consistently score, that gives the Jazz a base to build on, but they’ll need contributions from many other places.

Raul Neto got minutes and looked good! If Neto can stay on the floor and guard Chris Paul, the Jazz have a chance at getting some production from their bench. That’s no small thing considering how shaky the Jazz bench was against the Thunder.

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22 replies
  1. Renee Baltimore
    Renee Baltimore says:

    WIN, LOSE OR DRAW, IM PROUD OF THE JAZZ. THEY ARE IN THE PLAYOFFS!!! My hat, coat, shoes and handbag are off to them. They went from obscurity to THE PLAYOFFS in this season. WHAT A BLESSING!!! Donovan is MY ROTY. HE THREW THE TEAM ON HIS BACK AND SHOWED US WHAT THE TEAM CAN DO AS WELL AS THE WORLD.

    Reply
  2. Steven Jackson
    Steven Jackson says:

    good unbiased commentary. Of course I'm a Houston fan…..I love Quin Snyder as a coach, think he's severely underrated. Jazz are well coached and I expect them to adjust in this series. As far as the fans who believe Royce is a Harden stopper should stop lol. I like the kid and I can see he's a good defender….long and moves his feet well. The more this series plays on, you will see Harden get him in foul trouble, the refs will give Harden the benefit of the doubt. Crowder will be the best option, but there is no defense for Harden, like right now there is no defense for Mitchell. How could all those teams pass on that dude is beyond me. What a talent.

    Reply
  3. Andrew Kaplan
    Andrew Kaplan says:

    Was interesting that it took Utah so long to get Gobert a good look, especially with Houston's constant switching defense. You would think putting CP3 in the paint with Gobert would be a nightmare, but turns out he is insanely good at denying the entry pass with sneaky come from behind steals. Definitely need better entry passes/better boxing out by your giant center. I think this is where Utah is gonna miss Rubio the most, but Ingles should be able to provide some adequate passing in his place. Houston is a tough matchup for y'all. When you get switched from Ariza defending you, to Luc, to PJ, to CP3, to Capela… there's just not a lot of drop off between any of them, especially when you're talking about defending the perimeter. Not to mention that, although PJ is maybe 6'5" (could be a pinch taller, not 100%), he is incredibly strong and can at least make the bigs work down low. When he's making his open 3's, there's not a lot Utah can do. Even if Harden/Paul have off nights with shooting, they have the court awareness to get their guys open shots. I predict this going 5 or 6 with Houston eventually winning. Loved watching Utah against OKC though, so thanks for that!!!

    Reply
  4. Recontramojado
    Recontramojado says:

    The ofense killed us, both in those two first quarters and then when they made the run and got within 11 and had three consecutive turnovers on easy fastbreaks. I think we defended well, Harden kept making those contested thress, nothing to do about that, it's just like Mitchell finishing at the rim, defenders cannot do anything about it. But turnovers and missed open threes, and those freaking freethrows.

    Reply
  5. Raymond Kent
    Raymond Kent says:

    Oooooh. Not to be a jerk but yellow is not one of the Jazz colors. Their colors are technically purple, green and gold. Maybe gold and yellow are the same thing but officially the color is gold. The basketball logo and the "post game" letters on your video here are more gold than lemon yellow. (I know you didn't say that your shirt was a lemon yellow shirt.)
    I am only saying this because I went to New Orleans two weeks ago. I saw purple, green and gold all over the place. Those are the colors of Mardi Gras. I hadn't realized how prevalent those colors are in New Orleans until I went there. You see them everywhere. You see them on signs, city buses, t-shirts and on Mardi Gras beads, masks and memorabilia. They are all over in the parades. Those colors aren't just colors of a sports team, those are colors of an entire city. (my opinion)
    The Pelicans seriously have a gripe against the Jazz retaining the Mardi Gras colors. If I am the Utah Jazz, I keep the colors. In fact, after going to New Orleans, I think they should feature them more prominently. It is a great color combo.
    But if I am the Pelicans, I gripe about it and I ask to have the colors back.
    I suppose that is what happened in real life.
    No offense at all. I guess I was just looking for an excuse to talk about the Jazz's awesome colors.
    https://www.purecostumes.com/01400/festive-mardi-gras-jester-adult-costume.html
    http://cajunradio.com/mardi-gras-colors/

    Reply
  6. Feshtuerds KLamshyt
    Feshtuerds KLamshyt says:

    I'm sure your blind followers will find an exception to being forced to experience your VISUAL malfunctions. As it disrupts the audio broadcast version as well.
    The root issue (if we're focusing on extinguishing the fire and not the smoke) is your inability to improvise, focus & execute. The irony…..

    Reply
  7. Anon EmouseMan
    Anon EmouseMan says:

    When the Jazz played Oklahoma and Rudy Gobert was punched in the nuts sack and then bitch-slapped by another Oklahoma player, the media whined about how "this is the playoffs" and things are "physical" even though hitting someone below the belt and then bitch slapping them afterwards isn't allowed in boxing or the mixed martial arts UFC or any sport anywhere. Then the Jazz play Houston and any time they looked at Houston cross eyed they got a foul call on them, while at the same time Houston would grab players and pull them down to the ground and they stomped on Mitchell's foot and almost broke it off… and that wasn't even called a foul, in fact there wasn't even a thought of calling that a foul.

    Here is how things work. Houston clobbers Utah Jazz players, especially when they try to go for a layup, the refs don't call a thing. But then when the Houston Rockets players take fade away jump shots and a Jazz player happens to be in the same zip code, the Jazz player gets a foul call.

    Texas has been known to be a place of corrupt politics, and corrupt professional sports, whether it be College or professional, if there is a way to cheat, Texas sports teams have been known to do that. Unless the Utah Jazz starts a lawsuit against the NBA and demands that any and all communications from NBA management to referees is made public, then the Utah Jazz will never win the finals in the NBA playoffs.

    Clearly the NBA management told the refs to make insane ticky-tack calls against the Jazz and they were told to ignore the most egregious fouling behavior against the Jazz by the Rockets while the game was still in question. The beautiful thing about a lawsuit is that the evidence is right there recorded on video, in a court of law, if referees were forced to testify, they would have to admit the reason they allowed Mitchell to get stomped on but didn't even think of calling a foul is because the NBA told them, don't give the Jazz a chance to win.

    Put the refs on the witness stand and I guarantee you they will cough up all kinds of information about the illegal stuff that they are instructed to do. Keep in mind the NBA has a lot to lose by a lawsuit on this particular issue because they are a Non-Profit corporation… so therefor over the years the NBA has been able to avoid tens of billions of dollars in taxes. The NBA is as corrupt as the day is long.

    Over the years the Jazz change players, but in the playoffs the song remains the same. Against Texas, California, or Illinois NBA basketball teams, the referring is illegally, criminally, one sided. Only a lawsuit will change all of that. No question about it.
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    Reply
  8. ThereToDo
    ThereToDo says:

    Raul was a very pleasant surprise, but Royce did an excellent, excellent job covering Harden! At least as well as humanly possible…
    For us to have a prayer in this series, we'll need more from Rudy, and for Donovan to 'explode' every night.

    Reply
  9. M Shine
    M Shine says:

    Odd I'm a Rockets fan yet I like and respect your commentary and see you as one of the rare reasonable, logical, and astute fans who is undoubtedly a credit to the Utah fan base. You reflect positively among them in direct contrast to what one would think of a stereo typical Utah fan given their infamous history of being a vulgar fan base.

    Reply
  10. Royal Ace
    Royal Ace says:

    Hoops Nerd… Going against OKC and now Houston, what is the thing that you felt set those two teams apart? OKC is a very dangerous & incredibly talented team and eliminating them is no easy feat. The Jazz loss game 1 to OKC as well but they were able to flip things around on OKC and took control of the series. Do you think the Jazz would have the same success against Houston as they did against OKC in the 1st Round?

    The Jazz just took care of last year's MVP and were quite successful defending him in the 1st round. Aside from today's game, do you think the Jazz would have the same success against Harden as they did with Westbrook? Between Westbrook and Harden, which player do you feel is a nightmare for the Jazz and who would you rather not go against?

    Reply
  11. Movie Muscle
    Movie Muscle says:

    The Rockets continue to lay the egg in the very next quarter after shooting hot while the Warriors can consistently shoot 50% throughout a game. That's what frustrates me the most about them. Too volatile.

    Reply

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