The NBA is set for another busy night of action with a total of eight games set to tip off on Monday night. One of these games will be between the Utah Jazz and the Houston Rockets. The Jazz have been in a bit of a slump recently, while Houston is beginning to heat up. The game starts at 8:00 PM Eastern and can be streamed on NBA TV.
Utah has started out the season with a record of 14-16, which has them in thirteenth place in the Western Conference. The Jazz lost their last game against the Orlando Magic and have dropped three of their last four. Utah has been hovering around an even record all season and could really use a winning streak to get them back in the playoff race.
The Rockets have gone 14-14 to open up the new season. Houston is currently sitting in tenth place of the Western Conference. The Rockets have won three games in a row, which has helped them get back to having an even record. Houston will look to keep the winning streak going with a win at home against a struggling Jazz team.
Monday night’s matchup will be the third meeting between these two teams this season. The Jazz and the Rockets will meet one more time on February 2. These two teams have gotten a solid feel for each other early this season, which could lead to a tightly contested matchup on Monday night.
Last season, these two teams met up four times during the regular season. Houston was able to sweep the Jazz 4-0 in route to the best record in the NBA at the end of the season. Utah met up with the Rockets again in the second round of the playoffs, but were knocked out by Houston in five games.
Houston hosted the first game between these two teams on October 24. James Harden had a solid night, scoring 29 points for the Rockets. Carmelo Anthony had 22 off the bench, but it would not be enough. Donovan Mitchell had a huge night, dropping 38 points on Houston. Rudy Gobert added 12 points and 13 rebound to help give the Jazz a 100-89 win.
The second game of the season series shifted to Utah on December 6. James Harden was held to 15 points and 7 turnovers, which just about summed up the night for the Rockets. Derrick Favors had 24 points and 10 rebounds off the bench. Joe Ingles had 18 points, which was able to help lead the Jazz to a 118-91 win.
The Rockets absolutely dominated the season series against Utah last season, but the tables have been turned to open up this season. The Jazz have jumped out to a fast 2-0 season series lead this season. Houston will look to bounce back with a win at home on Monday night. If they can get the win, they will get a chance to split the season series with Utah later in the season.
Utah’s young star Donovan Mitchell has continued to develop nicely this season. Mitchell is averaging 21 points per game this season. Rudy Gobert continues to be the backbone at the Center position. Gobert is averaging 14 points and 12 rebounds per game. Ricky Rubio has been a good addition at the Point Guard spot, averaging 13 points and 6 assists. Jae Crowder has been a solid off the bench player. He has averaged 12 points per game off the bench.
James Harden’s game has been picking up in a big way recently. Harden is averaging 31 points, 6 rebounds and 8 assists per game. Clint Capela has been doing well holding down the Center position. He has averaged 18 points and 11.5 rebounds per game. Chris Paul has posted decent numbers this season, but they could improve. Paul is averaging 16 points and 8 assists per game. Finally, Eric Gordan has been averaging 15 points per game off the bench.
One of the matchups I believe will play a big role in this game is Capela and Gobert at the Center spot. Both Centers play really nice defense and can also contribute well offensively. I expect both of them to have a constant battle in the paint. James Harden and Donovan Mitchell will also see plenty of time against each other. Harden has been on a tear recently and I am not sure if the young Jazz star has what it takes to slow him down. If Harden comes out hot, I believe that it could lead to a lopsided match.
Houston is playing really well as of recently, while the Jazz have dropped three of their last four. I believe that the trend continues for each team on Monday night. The Rockets lost the first game at home against Utah and I do not seem them getting swept at home. Houston is riding back to back triple-doubles from James Harden. If Harden can keep it up, I believe the Rockets win easily at home.
BetOnline has Houston listed as a -5 against the spread at home. The Rockets have been really good as of recently and I believe that they have earned this spread. Utah is struggling and if they keep it close throughout most of the game, they could collapse at the end. Five points is not a lot to cover at home and I believe Houston takes Monday night’s matchup easily. I am taking the Rockets against the spread.