Game thread: Utah Jazz take on defused Houston Rockets

The Utah Jazz play host to the Houston Rockets tonight, who have taken a beating the past couple of weeks.

After a successful and exciting victory against the Dallas Mavericks on Saturday afternoon, the Utah Jazz will resume their tough stretch tonight against the Houston Rockets.

Over the past couple of years, it’s become obvious how heavily the Rockets rely on James Harden. His usage percentage has been through the roof, as have his points per game. It’s comparable to Wilt Chamberlain, which is quite an accomplishment in this day and age.

Last summer the Rockets added another heavy usage man that was also once named MVP of the league. Russell Westbrook, now playing second fiddle for the first time in five years, still gets quite a bit of responsibility. He gets 26 points per game, and was an exception to Mike D’Antoni’s rules of shooting only on the three point line and in the paint.

When asked about load management, James Harden scoffed at the idea. To his credit, the Rockets wouldn’t be much without him, and can’t afford to have him out for even a game if they want to be their best selves.

Game Data

Broadcast Info

Tip-off: 7:00 PM on January 27 from Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City, UT.

TV: AT&T SportsNet, stream on fuboTv

Radio: The Zone Sports Network (97.5 FM and 1280 AM Salt Lake City)

Projected Starting Lineups

Utah Jazz               Position           Houston Rockets

Rudy Gobert                 C                Isaiah Hartenstein

Royce O’Neale             PF              PJ Tucker

Bojan Bogdanovic       SF              Ben McLemore

Joe Ingles                       SG              Eric Gordon

Donovan Mitchell        PG              Austin Rivers

Injuries

The Utah Jazz are all ready to go with a clean injury report. Emmanuel Mudiay missed the last game against the Dallas Mavericks with ankle soreness, but I haven’t seen anything that indicates he’ll be out for tonight’s bout.

As for the Houston Rockets, James Harden is listed as questionable. Russell Westbrook is out for rest, AKA load management. Nene Hillario (adductor) is out indefinitely, Gerald Green (foot) is out for possibly the entirety of the season, and starting center Clint Capela (heel contusion) is listed as doubtful.

Prediction

Over at The Action Network, the Jazz are listed as 11.5 point favorites to win. Since the Rockets have the disadvantage of being on the road, playing in a back-to-back, and are without their star players, there is no reason the Jazz can’t win this one.

I’m hopeful the Jazz can hold them under 100 points and give them a proper beating. I’m going with Jazz 108, Rockets 95.

Discussion

#HOUatUTA will be the twitter hashtag for the game tonight. Also feel free to comment in the thread below. Go Jazz!

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