Rockets: A look at the second round matchup against the Utah Jazz

HOUSTON, TX - DECEMBER 18: Chris Paul /

The Rockets are officially playing the Jazz in the second round of the playoffs.

The Houston Rockets have been waiting since Wednesday to see who they would be playing in the second round of the postseason. The answer came last night when the Jazz narrowly defeated the Thunder and won the series 4-2.

Utah boasts one of the best defenses in the league and a young budding superstar in Donovan Mitchell. They came into the playoffs as the fifth seed in the Western Conference.

Let’s look at an important topic for this series: the injury woes.


The Rockets will hopefully be getting back Luc Mbah a Moute for the series. He will be especially helpful against Mitchell. Luc is questionable for Game 1 but has stated that he really wants to play in it tomorrow afternoon.

The Jazz took a big blow this morning with some tough news. Ricky Rubio should be out 10 days with a hamstring injury. After playing so well against OKC, it looks like Utah will have to start someone else at the point guard position.

10 days out would put Rubio back into action around Game 5, should the series still be going on at that point.

Lineup comparison

We will go in depth into this later, but here’s a look at how the starting lineups will be:

Rockets: Chris Paul/James Harden/Trevor Ariza/P.J. Tucker/Clint Capela

The usual for the Rockets.

Jazz: ?/Donovan Mitchell/Joe Ingles/Derrick Favors/Rudy Gobert

Utah has some options for who will start the first few games. They could slide Mitchell to point guard and start Jae Crowder at shooting guard. They could also start point guard Dante Exum in Rubio’s place and keep their bench pretty much the same. We will have to see what Snyder does for Game 1.


The Rockets bench will be even better with Luc Mbah a Moute coming back. For how that affects the rotation, especially the bench, check out yesterday’s article:

Related Story: Rockets rotation for Round 2

The Jazz have several good pieces coming off the bench. Jae Crowder is someone who could start for many teams in the league. Royce O’Neal is a defensive beast and has an okay jump shot. Alec Burks is inconsistent but can hurt you when he’s on fire. Other guys, like Jonas Jerebko and Dante Exum, come into each game and play hard.


The Jazz are a great team, but the Rockets are better. Without Rubio, Utah could have a very tough time scoring enough to keep up with Houston. Mitchell will be a handful, but the Rockets have multiple defenders that can take turns trying to guard him.

I think the Rockets will win the series in 5 games.

Next: Luc Mbah a Moute could return for the second round