Jazz-Rockets Game 2 POWER-HOUSE ~ Won 10* on the Under in Gm 1!
Utah vs. Houston,
05/02/2018 20:00 EDT,
Score: 116 - 108
Point Spread: +11½/-110 Utah
10* Utah (8:05 ET): Game 1 of this second round series took place Sunday afternoon and was the fifth time this season that the Jazz and Rockets faced off. For a fifth time, it was Houston prevailing in lopsided fashion, doing so 110-96 as 11.5-pt chalk. The Rockets are now 5-0 SU and ATS against the Jazz this year, every win coming by a minimum of 11 pts. The average margin of victory has been 16.8 points per game. As someone who "stood on the sidelines" for the Game 1 spread (I instead cashed the Under), I have to say "isn't it time for Utah to play Houston close?" Now not having Ricky Rubio (strained left hamstring) definitely hurts - both literally and figuratively - but I believe the Jazz can overcome his absence by playing their usual brand of defense (#2 in efficiency during regular season) and at least cover the spread here. Take the points. Game 1 was never really close as Houston jumped out to 13-point lead by the end of the first quarter and pretty much coasted from there. They led by 25 at halftime and by 18 entering the fourth quarter. The Rockets shot 53.1% from three-point range, making 17 of 32 attempts w/ seven of those coming from James Harden (career playoff-high). Harden had 41 points, eight rebounds and seven assists for the game as the usually defensively-minded Jazz had no answers. I had thought the Houston-Minnesota series would offer up a blueprint for Utah to defend Harden, but it was to no avail. If you recall, early on in Round 1, Harden struggled when the T'wolves sank their big man, Karl-Anthony Towns, in the paint to prevent drives. With Rudy Gobert in the middle, I thought the Jazz would do better than they did in Game 1. Fortunately for them, it was only "one game." Utah missed 15 of its 22 three-point attempts and missing 9 of 22 free throws certainly didn't help matters either. I expect the team to improve in both areas for Game 2. Something to keep in mind here is that the Jazz closed the regular season on a 29-6 run. While there was a stretch back in March where they dropped three of five, they haven't lost B2B games (save for the reg season finale (meaningless)/playoff opener) since before MLK Day! Including the playoffs, this is a team that has won 33 of 42 games and getting double digits. I think they can keep it close here against Houston, for a change. The quick turnaround between series did Utah no favors (eliminated OKC on Friday), but here they've had two days in between games. Houston is just 5-10 ATS this season playing w/ exactly two days rest. 10* Utah