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Houston Rockets: A look at last year’s playoff games in Utah

By Michael Knight
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - MAY 06: Chris Paul #3 of the Houston Rockets shoots over Donovan Mitchell #45 of the Utah Jazz in the second half during Game Four of Round Two of the 2018 NBA Playoffs at Vivint Smart Home Arena on May 6, 2018 in Salt Lake City, Utah. The Rockets beat the Jazz 100-87. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr./Getty Images)
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - MAY 06: Chris Paul #3 of the Houston Rockets shoots over Donovan Mitchell #45 of the Utah Jazz in the second half during Game Four of Round Two of the 2018 NBA Playoffs at Vivint Smart Home Arena on May 6, 2018 in Salt Lake City, Utah. The Rockets beat the Jazz 100-87. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr./Getty Images)
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As the Houston Rockets hit the road for the next two games against the Jazz in their series, let’s take a look at how the games in Utah went for the squad less than a year ago in the postseason.

The Houston Rockets have looked utterly dominant in the first two games of their series against the Utah Jazz. They are locked in and focused, ready to “Run It Back,” as they’ve advertised throughout the year, against the Warriors in the near future.

To do that, they still must finish off Utah two more times. As the series shifts to Salt Lake City, we’ll see if the Rockets can get it done on the road. If last year is any indication of that, then they should be just fine.

Let’s take a look at those two games in the series last season against a very similar Jazz squad. We can also look at the regular season games this year in the same building.

Game 3, Rockets win 113-94

Coming off of a Game 2 loss in Houston, the Rockets knew they had to come out and set the tone in the third game of the series. They did just that, hammering Utah in a way similar to what we’re seeing this year, 113-94.

James Harden was great, of course, putting up 25 points and 12 assists on 8/17 shooting. It was Eric Gordon, though, that was super impressive, putting up 25 points of his own to help lead the Rockets.

I’d love to see the Rockets come prepared once again like this game, especially on the road. Just because you’re up 2-0 doesn’t mean the series is over, by any means. This game last year is where Houston truly took control of the series, but they still never let up.

Game 4, Rockets win 100-87

The Jazz defense showed up more in this one, but so did that of the Rockets. Houston won once again by double-digits, their third such game of the series. The next game would be the fourth 10+ point win of the series.

The Beard struggled a bit in this one if you remember correctly. Royce O’Neal played pretty good defense on him, holding him to 24 points on 8/22 shooting overall. Chris Paul stepped up big time, though, with 27 points, 12 rebounds and 6 assists.

CP3 would drop 41 in the next game to finish off the Jazz. Can we see another deadly Chris Paul this year?

The two games this year

The Rockets have two very different games in Salt Lake City this year. In the first one, Houston was a very different team than they are now. It was early December and the Jazz had Rudy Gobert ejected and still destroyed the Rockets, 118-91. One more loss the next game, and Houston would be at its lowest mark of the season with an 11-14 record.

Thankfully, the team would get much better after that. James Harden went on his historic run and many midseason additions were made by the awesome Rockets front office. Those changes were in full effect on February 2, when the Rockets marched into SLC and beat the Jazz 125-98 without Clint Capela. Kenneth Faried was huge in that game and he is huge in this series so far this year.

Obviously, these two teams have their fair share of differences from their counterparts last season. Still, it’s interesting to see that this trend of Houston blowouts has been occurring since the playoffs last year.

Next. James Harden is getting fewer free throws, but still dominating

Can the Rockets continue to do so the rest of the series and have a nice, clean sweep? It won’t be easy in the electric environment that Utah has each year. We’ll see tomorrow night!

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