The Utah Jazz will host the Houston Rockets in game 3 of their Western Conference Semifinal matchup. The series is tied 1-1 after the Jazz stunned the Rockets in game 2, winning 116-108. Houston is the top seed in the Western Conference while the Jazz come in as the 5th seed.
The Jazz stole home court advantage in this series by defeating the Rockets at the Toyota Center in Houston. The Rockets will now have to deal with the raucous Utah crowd in the next 2 games. The Rockets are led by veteran James Harden and the Jazz counter with rookie Donovan Mitchell. The Houston Rockets are -3.5 over the Jazz in game 3.
The Jazz Caught Fire From Deep
The Utah Jazz were still without Ricky Rubio in game 2, but Donovan Mitchell stepped in to the point guard role and performed well. Mitchell was limited to 17 points, well below his average, but he dished out 11 assists in the victory. Mitchell was able to find his teammates, who knocked down three points shots at a blistering pace. The Jazz shot 46.9% (15-32) from deep in game 2.
Third year man, Joe Ingles, provided the Jazz with the biggest shooting threat. Ingles finished the game with 27 points while hitting 7-9 three point attempts. If Ingles stays hot in game 3, the Jazz could take a series lead. Jazz center, Rudy Gobert, will also look to have dominate the paint in game 3 after scoring 15 points and grabbing 14 rebounds in game 2.
Houston Has a Problem: Defense
The Houston Rockets were exposed on the defensive end on game 2, and must defend better if they want to win game 3. The Rockets allowed the Jazz to get comfortable, and the Jazz responded by shooting over 51% from the field and making 15 threes. The Rockets must focus more on defense to take control of this series.
James Harden continues to lead the Rockets offense and scored 32 points in their game 2 loss. The Rockets are still looking to find more scoring from their bench, after only getting 22 bench points in game 2. If the Rockets thought that this series would be easy for them, the Jazz gave them a stern wake up call.
Rockets Win a Tight One
The Jazz are an extremely confident team and will be riding a ton of momentum into game 3. Utah will once again be without Rubio, again forcing Mitchell into the point guard role. If the Jazz continue to knock down shots, then they have a great chance of beating the Rockets again.
Houston must spend the off day trying to figure out how to defend the Jazz. Coach Mike D’Antoni’s team can score, but that approach won’t win night in and night out. If the Rockets buckle down on the defensive end, they will be able to steal game 3 and take back home court. Look for Harden and company to make enough plays, and the Rockets to get just enough stops to earn the victory. Bet the Houston Rockets -3.5 over the Jazz in game 3.
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