The Utah Jazz will be facing off against the Houston Rockets, and as always, the matchup between Rudy Gobert and Clint Capela will be a must watch.
As a rematch of last year’s second round playoff series, Wednesday night’s contest is going to be a heated battle on both sides. The Houston Rockets are looking to maintain their status as the second best team in the West, while the Utah Jazz are trying to overtake them.
There are going to be a lot of fun players to watch when the Utah Jazz take on the Houston Rockets Wednesday night: James Harden vs. Donovan Mitchell, Eric Gordon vs. Dante Exum, Ricky Rubio vs. Chris Pau…oh wait. (In case you missed it, CP3 is suspended for the bout).
Even with all of those great players on the court, there is one matchup that will have my full attention. That is the matchup between Rudy Gobert and Clint Capela.
While Gobert is widely considered the better of the two players, Capela definitely got the better of Gobert during last season’s playoff matchup. On the offensive side of the ball, Capela put up 13 points, 10.2 rebounds and 1.8 assists. Where he really shined though was on the defensive side of the ball, finishing the series averaging 1.8 steals and 3.6 blocks per game.
Gobert played well, but Capela was certainly his equal throughout the series, if not the superior.
As far as their style of play is concerned, the two are extremely similar, and their numbers reflect that. All of last season and even early into this season, the two have put up eerily similar numbers. Both have hovered around 13-14 points, 10-11 rebounds, and 2-3 blocks per game.
Offensively, they set great screens, roll hard to the rim in the pick n’ roll, and they finish beautifully around the basket, typically above the rim. The best thing about both big men is that they do what they do best, and they don’t step outside of their assigned rolls. It sounds boring, but it is extremely valuable to have the type of player who will accept their role and do what is best for the team, instead of demanding the ball down low (cough***Dwight Howard***cough).
Defensively, both are solid drop bigs who protect the paint. They can anchor an elite level defense.
If I’m forced to be nit-picky, I would likely say that Capela has the slight edge on the offensive side of the ball. Both are terrific off the pick n’ roll, but Capela has shown an adequate post up game. On the other side of the ball though, I am absolutely going with the reigning Defensive Player of the Year, Rudy Gobert.
This one is going to be fun to watch. As opposed to many elite wing matchups, these two are actually going to be matched up against each other the majority of the game. I think Gobert takes this one personally, and will look to assert his dominance. The Jazz are also coming off an extremely disappointing loss to Memphis, so expect the team to be more focused and energized in trying to prove they belong in conversation of the elite of the West.