The Rockets will begin their series with the Jazz tomorrow afternoon. How do their starters match up?
The Houston Rockets are getting ready to start the second round of the playoffs against the Utah Jazz. As such, people are starting to make their predictions for the series.
A huge part of comparing two teams lies with the starting lineups. Like we did last round, we will look at each position and how they compare to each other between the Rockets and the Jazz.
The Jazz are struggling with injuries at the point guard position, so we’re going to just combine the starting guards and forwards.
Chris Paul: 18.6 PPG, 7.9 APG, 5.4 RPG, 46% shooting, 38% from 3
James Harden: 30.4 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 8.8 APG, 45% shooting, 36.7% from 3
Ricky Rubio: 13.1 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 5.3 APG, 41.8% shooting, 35.2% from 3
Donovan Mitchell: 20.5 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 3.7 APG, 43.7% shooting, 34% from 3
The Jazz will likely be without Ricky Rubio for most of the series. That’s a tough blow for Utah who will probably start either Dante Exum or Jae Crowder in his place. Mitchell has stepped up his game even more in the playoffs, however, averaging 28.5 points per game in the first round. The Rockets still have the advantage with CP3 and Harden, though, no matter who the Jazz throw out there.
Trevor Ariza: 11.7 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 1.6 APG, 41.2% shooting, 36.8% from 3
P.J. Tucker: 6.1 PPG, 5.6 RPG, 0.9 APG, 39% shooting, 37.1% from 3
Joe Ingles: 11.5 PPG, 4.2 APG, 4.8 APG, 46.7% shooting, 44% from 3
Derrick Favors: 12.3 PPG, 7.2 RPG, 1.3 APG, 1.1 BPG, 56.3% shooting
The frontcourt for the Jazz boasts one of the best shooters in the league: Joe Ingles. He will be a handful to deal with this series as Ariza will likely get quite a few minutes matching up with him. The forwards for the Rockets are likely better defensively as a whole, but offensively the Jazz may have them beat. While Favors doesn’t shoot the 3, he can still beat you inside and from midrange.
Clint Capela: 13.9 PPG, 10.8 RPG, 0.9 APG, 65.2% shooting, 1.9 BPG
13.5 PPG, 10.7 RPG, 1.4 APG, 62.2% shooting, 2.3 BPG
This series will be a great opportunity for Clint Capela to prove himself against a top center in the league. He’s already done that once this playoffs against KAT, let’s see if he can do it again. Gobert is a Defensive Player of the Year candidate, so it will be no easy task.
Overall, with or without Rubio for the Jazz, the Rockets have the advantage in this series for the starting lineups. Two Hall of Fame caliber guards on your team really tilt the odds in your favor.