I’m thankful the Houston Rockets didn’t embarrass themselves on national television last night.
The Rockets fought hard all the way to end and James Harden — with a sprained left ankle — was able to lead his team and facilitate like none other with 16 assists to his credit.
The Oklahoma City Thunder are just too good of a team at this moment and I had pegged the Rockets to lose this one closely.
I just wished that the last-minute were drawn up a bit better and that Dwight Howard was able to get a hand on the ball from the Beard.
I doubt this team actually does an intense amount of study on actual plays but more on fundamentals to keep them sharp and effective.
That’s why it’s no surprise that the final seconds of last night game ended in complete dysfunction, which has been reflective of the entire season as we speak.
But the Rockets have another game to play tonight against the 34-36 Utah Jazz and it will be hard-fought as both teams are trying to get themselves into the playoffs.
Both Harden and Gordon Hayward are playing through foot injuries so it will be interesting to see how they help their respective teams.
So who’s leading the charge for the Jazz?
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Gordon Hayward is the leading scorer (19.9 PPG) and assist man (3.6 APG). Rudy Gobert is the top board-getter (11.0 RPG) and premier shot-blocker (2.20 BPG). Derrick Favors is the steals king (1.20 SPG).
Let’s talk about what the Jazz do well.
They’re solid defenders. The Jazz are ranked 10th in defensive efficiency, allowing 102.3 points per 100 possessions.
They are rebounding beasts. The Jazz are 5th in the league in rebound rate, taking down a whopping 51.9 percent of missed shots.
They get the second chance often. The Jazz are 3rd in the league in offensive rebound rate (26.5).
For the first time in eons, James Harden is actually on the injury report. But the toll of an 82-game season can be a grind so it’s quite understandable. He has been dealing with a sprained left ankle against the Atlanta Hawks this past Saturday. Although he was listed as questionable, he did play and put up 24 points, 16 assists and seven rebounds in 40 minutes of action against the Oklahoma City Thunder last night in a 111-107 loss. It will be intriguing to see how it responds in a back-to-back and it’s highly likely he’ll be PROBABLE for tonight.
Gordon Hayward has been dealing with plantar fasciitis in his right foot and has been sidelined for a bit. However, he has decided he can play through it and returned this past Sunday against the Chicago Bulls. He scored 18 points in 36 minutes in a 94-85 win.
Source: Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle
Three Things to Watch:
106-99 in a Rockets’ win!
The Rockets have returned home to take on the Jazz at Toyota Center.
Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. CDT.
The game will be televised on ROOT Sports Southwest and broadcast on SportsTalk 790 AM (KBME) and La Ranchera 850 AM (KEYH) in Spanish.