#5 Utah Jazz (50-32) @ #4 Houston Rockets (53-29)
NBA Basketball: Wednesday, April 16, 2019, 9:30PM ET (Toyota Center)
Lines and Odds: Houston Rockets (-6.5), Over/Under: 212.5
NBA Playoff Picks Utah Jazz vs Houston Rockets
In the second game of the Western conference first round, the Utah Jazz will take on James Harden and the Houston Rockets. Game 1 turned out to be a worst contest than expected, with Houston jumping out to an early lead against the league’s best defense, while finishing them off 122-90. The Jazz will look to put up a better fight tonight to steal one on the road.
The Utah Jazz are currently the fifth seed in the Western conference, finishing the season only three games behind the Houston Rockets. In game one of the first round, the top scorer for Utah was Rudy Gobert with 22 points on an efficient 8/10 shooting, while also leading with a game-high 12 rebounds. Ricky Rubio, who consistently battled injury-after-injury throughout the season, finished with a team-high 6 assists. Donovan Mitchell, who impressed once again in his second season, scored 19 points with no assists, finishing off with 5 turnovers. Overall, the Jazz went 7/27 from beyond the arc, while turning the ball over 18 times, a couple of stats that they will likely focus on in game 2. Expect Utah to adjust on offense and give a different look on defense, as they aim to contain the starting lineup of the Rockets, who all scored more than 10 points each. Donovan Mitchell currently led the Jazz this season with 23.8 PPG on 43.2 FG%, while Rudy Gobert led with 12.9 RPG and Ricky Rubio led with 6.1 APG.
The Houston Rockets are currently the fourth seed in the Western conference, showing the Jazz on Sunday why they were the superior team, despite Harden’s 29 points on 11/26 shooting, which is below his standard this season. It was still the team high, while also leading with 10 assists and only 3 turnovers. Clint Capela led with 12 rebounds. The Jazz’s defensive strategy worked on Harden, as they took away his left side in an attempt to force Harden to drive, making Rudy Gobert the main obstacle in the paint. The Rockets quickly adjusted and spread the ball around, leading to all starters having double-digit points. They will aim to employ a similar “wait and see” tactic as long as they are ahead in tonight’s matchup. A stat that went noticed on Sunday was the rim protection, which was supposed to be Utah’s stronghold. Houston, who was the middle of the pack, led 42-41 on the glass to the third ranked rebounding team. Harden led the Rockets this season with 36.1 PPG on 44.2 FG%, while Chris Paul led with 8.2 APG and Clint Capela led with 12.7 RPG.
Cover the Spread 365 Betting Trends
Houston are 8-2 SU in their last 10 games
Houston are 7-2-1 ATS in their last 10 games
Houston are 4-0-1 ATS in their last 5 games at home
Utah are 8-2 SU in their last 10 games
Utah are 6-4 ATS in their last 10 games
Utah are 3-1 ATS in their last 4 games on the road
Free NBA Playoff Scores Houston Rockets vs Utah Jazz
Based on history, Houston have a fair record against Utah at home. When the two have matched up, Houston has won the last three, while splitting the season series two each. Since Utah will adjust their perimeter defense for tonight’s game, expect the Jazz to stay close throughout the game. However, with the playmaking ability of both Harden and Chris Paul, it will be difficult to overcome a stout Rockets offense unless they have an off-shooting night, which won’t likely happen.
Pick: Houston Rockets (-6.5)