Rockets vs. Jazz Prediction and Betting Odds
April 13, 2019
Houston Rockets (53-29)
In a way, you could say the Rockets are right where they were expected to be when the season started—in the hunt and ready to compete for the Conference title. The road they took to get here, though, was a lot rockier than anyone imagined it would be.
But through the sheer will and perseverance of James Harden and a renewed focus on defensive play, the Rockets were able to overcome their terrible start to the season. Had they not blown a lead in the fourth quarter of their regular season finale, they would actually be the No. 2 seed rather than the No. 4.
Not bad after being one of the worst teams in the NBA the first couple of months.
However, with how they have played, it is not hard to wonder whether the team is going to relive the 2017 playoffs. They looked great, but when the immense workload finally started to wear on James Harden, they folded and lost the Western Conference Finals.
The key will be their defense. They finished the regular season ranked 17th. However, since March 1, they have had the second-best defense in the league.
Round 1 - 13.4.19
Utah Jazz (50-32)
Utah has quietly been one of the better teams in the NBA this season. They finished the year winning eight of their last ten. Their defense ranked second in the league over the course of the season. However, their offense was sub-par averaging just 111.4 points/game.
But since March 1, they have had the best defense in the NBA and have figured out to get some more points on the board (defense—103.3, 1st; offense—115.3 points/game; 6th).
They will need to keep up that kind of production on both ends of the court if they are going to upset the Rockets.
Prediction: Since they split their regular season series, you could say that this series could go either way. But the two games the Jazz won were against the early Rockets before Houston got its act together. It should be a competitive series but one the Rockets ultimately win.
Houston wins the series, 4-2.