Dec 2, 2013; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Utah Jazz small forward Richard Jefferson (24) is defended by Houston Rockets shooting guard James Harden (13) during the first quarter at EnergySolutions Arena. Mandatory Credit: Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

Utah Jazz @ Houston Rockets: Game Preview

 

Utah Jazz (22-45, 8-26 road) @ Houston Rockets (44-22, 26-7 home)

Tip Off @ 6:00 p.m. MST

Regular Season Series Game 3 of 3 (Series tied 1-1)

Overview

The Jazz come into tonight’s game against the Houston Rockets on a four game losing streak, and have lost 14 of their last 17 games on the road. They face a Rockets team who is coming off a loss yesterday as well.

The Rockets were on the road yesterday and had a hard fought battle in Miami against the Heat. The two teams went back and forth until the Heat pulled away late in the game for a 113-104 win over the Rockets. If the Jazz have any chance at all to win a game on this road trip, tonight might be their chance.

Both teams played yesterday on the road. However, the Jazz got beat pretty good and after their game in San Antonio, didn’t have far to travel to get to their game tonight. Houston was in a hard fought game and afterwards had to travel quite a ways to get back home for tonight’s game. There is a chance that Houston might have some tired legs tonight, so the Jazz best chance is to jump out to a strong start.

Key Matchup: Derrick Favors vs Dwight Howard

Favors is coming off one of his best games in a Jazz uniform. He finished yesterday’s game against the San Antonio Spurs with 28 points and 10 rebounds. He also shot 12-of-19 from the field. Even though he had possibly the best game of his career, he didn’t quite get enough help from everyone else to get a win.

His matchup tonight will be a tough one as he is going up against a guy who has been doing quite well for himself ever since leaving the Lakers (is that the first time you have heard someone say that?). Dwight Howard is averaging 18.6 points and 12.4 rebounds per game this year for the Rockets. He is also averaging nearly two blocks per game.

Favors hit some jump shots and was able to work his way to the basket yesterday against Tim Duncan. Howard is a better defender than Duncan, so Favors will have his work cut out for him tonight. Last meeting between these two teams, Favors finished with a double-double and a Jazz victory. We will see if he can replicate that tonight.

Conclusion

Both teams will be looking to rebound from a loss tonight. The Jazz will be looking to avoid a five game losing streak and the Rockets want to avenge the loss they took yesterday in Miami. The Rockets could have a little bit of tired legs having to travel farther to get home yesterday.

If the Jazz want to have a chance at winning, they need to get out of the gates early. Houston can get going from deep in a hurry and if the Jazz don’t build a lead out of the gates, they can get left behind quickly. Where the Rockets are at home, I don’t see them having too much of a struggle.

Rockets 108, Jazz 101

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