Our Thursday NBA playoffs preview highlights Game 2 between the Utah Jazz and Houston Rockets in the Western Conference Semi-finals.
12:00 (AEST), Thu 3rd May @ Toyota Center, Houston
History: Played 237: Jazz 124 V Rockets 113.
Last meeting: April 29, 2018: Rockets 110 d Jazz 96 at Toyota Center.
Final Thoughts: The Utah Jazz are aiming to level their Western Conference series in Game 2, but it won’t be easy on the road against the top seed Houston Rockets, who cruised to a 14-point win in the opening clash.
The Rockets prevailed 110-96 in Game 1 on the back of a sizzling display from James Harden, who had 41 points, eight rebounds and seven assists. It was the Rockets’ fifth straight win over the Jazz this season – all by 11 points or more.
It was an impressive start from Houston – an NBA-best 65-17 in the regular season after an authoritative 4-1 first-round success over the Timberwolves in which they won three games by margins of 18 or more.
The Jazz went 48-34 in the regular season to finish fifth in the West, before upsetting the Thunder in six games with rookie Donovan Mitchell putting in some huge performances.
Mitchell was shut down effectively by the Rockets, however, and Utah clearly missed his usual fellow guard Ricky Rubio, with Royce O’Neale filling in. Rubio has been listed as a game-time decision for this match.
The Rockets are a dominant 38-7 at home this season, losing just once in their last 26 outings at Toyota Center. The Jazz are 21-24 on the road – including 1-3 in the playoffs so far – and that is enough to steer away from any temptation of an upset in Game 2.