The Utah Jazz are in Houston for a meeting against the Houston Rockets on Wednesday night. This is the third and final game of a brief road trip for the Jazz, who are coming off a 111-97 win over the Los Angeles Lakers on Monday night. It was a textbook win for the Jazz, as all aspects of their full capabilities were on display. This was after a bad loss against the Lakers in overtime, 127-115. If the Jazz want to be taken seriously, they had to respond in a big way after losing against a Lakers team that consists of no Lebron James and Anthony Davis. Jordan Clarkson provided a nice lift off the bench with 22 points.
Without Donovan Mitchell in the starting lineup, Joe Ingles had a standout performance with 21 points, 5 assists, and 4 rebounds. Down Mitchell because of an injury, a lot of pressure is on Joe Ingles to step up and take on more of a role. The 33-year-old native of Australia hit three clutch three balls in the third quarter to help the Jazz pull away at the Staples Center. It’s the second straight game that Ingles has recorded at least 20 points. Ingles is a triple specialist that is shooting 49% from three. As long as Mike Conley Jr. can find an open Ingles from behind the arc, they’re going to continue to score.
The Jazz have wins in five of their previous seven outings. They had a bad loss against the Washington Wizards on April 12, 125-121, and then the loss against the Lakers noted above. The Jazz have been leading the Western Conference pretty well throughout the entire season. If they can hang on, it’s going to be a wire-to-wire win for the Jazz. However, their lead has slowly been evaporating, and they hold a 1.5-game advantage over the Phoenix Suns going into Wednesday.
The injury to Donovan Mitchell is critical for the Jazz. They need him back and contributing in the playoffs. As long as Mitchell doesn’t miss the playoffs, the Jazz are going to be fine, but they are still looking to prove people wrong. Despite a record of 43-15, the Jazz have to fight for respect, with it only being obtained with a deep playoff run. They really remind you a lot of the Toronto Raptors from two years ago, but the Jazz would have to go the distance and win the championship to replicate the Raps. The Jazz are in Houston against a Rockets team that has had all types of problems this season. Head below for our free Jazz vs. Rockets pick on April 21, 2021.
Utah Jazz vs. Houston Rockets NBA Betting Odds:
Jazz vs. Rockets Prediction:
The Rockets went into this season with no expectations, and the result has been ugly. It started off with James Harden forcing his way out of Houston. Predictably, not much has gone right for the Rockets, as they look towards the future for brighter days. The Rockets own a record of 15-43, and have lost six of their last seven games. Their only win since April 9 has been against the equally bad Orlando Magic, 114-110, who traded away their top talent as well. Following that win on April 18, the Rockets were blown out by a score of 113-91 the next night against the Heat.
That sounds about right for the Rockets. They are 24th in the league with 107.9 points per game, and shooting just 44.2% from the field for 29th. It has been the defense that has really slowed them down recently, though. Houston has gotten ripped for an average of 121.8 points against per game in their last five outings. Overall, the Rockets are 26th with 114.9 points allowed per game. They are close to useless on the boards, which is a terrible indicator to keep up with the Jazz.
The Rockets are 30th in the league in defensive rebounding. Conversely, the Jazz are second in the league in offensive rebounding. That’s in large part because of the presence of Rudy Gobert, who should be able to do what he wants against the Houston defense tonight. The Jazz are third in the league with 116.9 points per game, and holding teams to just 44.6% from the field for second in the NBA. It doesn’t help that the Rockets are banged up going into this one, too. On a team already dealing with depth issues when they’re healthy, the Rockets have six players on the injury report. If the Jazz are interested tonight, they should be able to cruise to a 123-106 or 117-103 win.