Western Conference Semifinals: Houston Rockets vs. Utah Jazz

Western Conference Semifinals: Houston Rockets vs. Utah Jazz

The Utah Jazz will host the Houston Rockets in game 4 of their playoff series on Sunday evening. The Jazz currently trail the series, 2-1, after getting blown out by the Rockets in game 3. Utah will look to even up the series at two games a piece before heading back to Houston.

The Rockets were surprised by the Jazz in game 2, but looked more like themselves in their game 3 win. The Rockets led from start to finish and again proved why they were the top team in the NBA during the regular season. It will be up to the Jazz to make adjustments if they want to even up the series. The Houston Rockets are -5 over the Utah Jazz on Sunday.

Rockets Must Keep Defending

Houston knew that they needed to focus more on the defensive end in game 3, after getting stunned by the Jazz in game 2. The Rockets limited Jazz star, Donovan Mitchell, to 10 points in game 3, and forced 16 turnovers in the win. If the Rockets continue to play solid defense, their offense will be powerful enough to finish off the Jazz in this series.

Offensively, the Rockets were waiting for their bench players to step up and score some points in this series. Former 6th man of the year, Eric Gordon, finally showed up in game 3 and was huge off the bench. Gordon poured in 25 points on 8-13 shooting in the victory. If the Rockets continue to get a contribution from Gordon and the rest of their reserves then they should be able to handle the Jazz in game 4.

Jazz Need Mitchell To Bounce Back

Donovan Mitchell has had a historic start to these playoffs, but he was unable to get anything going in game 3. Mitchell finished the game with just 10 points and only dished out 3 assists. The Jazz will not be able to survive with this kind of performance from Mitchell going forward. The Rockets have made stopping Mitchell a focal point, now it’s time to see how the rookie responds in game 4.

Mitchell wasn’t the only Jazz player who had a disappointing game 3. Small forward Joe Ingles finished with just 6 points on 2-10 shooting after scoring 27 points in the Jazz game 2 victory. With Ricky Rubio still expected to miss game 4, Ingles and Mitchell will need to have monster games if the Jazz are going to even the series.

Rockets Take Control of Series

The Utah Jazz stunned the Rockets in game 2, and it also might have been a huge wake up call to the Rockets. Houston looked like a top NBA team in game 3, and they absolutely dominated the Jazz the entire game. If Houston continues to defend, they have too much offensive talent for the Jazz to deal with.

Utah is relying on two young players, Ingles and Mitchell, to lead them. The young stars have been tremendous all playoffs, but they don’t have enough help to truly challenge the Rockets. The Jazz are always tough to beat at home, but the Rockets are good enough to do it.  Bet the Houston Rockets -5 over the Utah Jazz on Sunday.