The Houston Rockets will look to finish off the Utah Jazz tonight as they are currently up in the series 3-1. After a disappointing road loss in Salt Lake City, how will the Rockets respond?
The Houston Rockets are on the verge of advancing to a likely matchup against the Golden State Warriors once again. Before doing so, though, they have to get rid of the pesky Utah Jazz who outclassed the Rockets in most areas of the game on Monday night.
Donovan Mitchell had his first great game of the series and finished with 31 points, hitting some devastating shots in the fourth quarter. James Harden was 6/12 from downtown, but it wasn’t enough as the bench (and others) didn’t really come ready to play.
Despite there not being a sweep, there is still a great chance that the Rockets can bounce back and win the series tonight. Let’s look at a few reasons why it can be done:
Home court advantage
It’s going to be nice to be back in Toyota Center tonight. The Rockets absolutely dominated the Jazz in the first two games of this series in Houston, winning by an average of 26 points per game.
The Rockets took care of business against the Jazz last season when the series went to a fifth game as well. Winning on your home floor is something truly special and hopefully, it happens tonight for Houston.
Role players play better at home
One of the biggest issues in the loss the other night was the lack of production from the bench. They scored just 5 total points (all by Austin Rivers) and shot an atrocious 2/16 overall and 1/10 from downtown.
Historically, the role players of a team always play better at home in a playoff series. I expect Gerald Green and Danuel House Jr. to have much better performances tonight than they did with their combined zero points in Game 4.
I also expect Kenneth Faried to play a better tonight. He hasn’t played a huge factor apart from Game 1 where he had 11 points and 6 rebounds. Clint Capela is struggling out there with the virus he’s fighting and Faried has to help him out. If not, Nene might need to step up and play some minutes for the first time in the playoffs.
I feel like Harden is going to come out here tonight and close out the Jazz. Last year, it was Chris Paul who stepped up huge with 40+ points in a closeout game that the Beard struggled in against the Jazz. I would love to see a signature performance from Harden tonight.
Harden has caught some flack for his two games in Utah (though his fourth quarter in Game 3 and 3-point shooting in Game 4 were pretty great) and it’s time for him to step up (and back) and down the Jazz. Let’s move on and face the Warriors.