SUMMARY: The red-hot Houston Rockets showed every bit of why they have won nine games in a row and dismantled the Jazz in the second half on their way to a 112-101 win that wasn’t all that close.
- The Jazz started the night terribly with Rudy Gobert mishandling three straight possessions which led to a 6-0 Rockets lead and a timeout from Quin Snyder. From that point on, the Jazz played the Rockets even and trailed by five points at the half.
- The Jazz got blitzed in the third quarter. Ryan Anderson couldn’t miss from 3. James Harden — who had scored the last 8 points in the first half — kept rolling in the second. The Rockets are now 16-1 when they lead at the half.
- The Rockets started the night with Trevor Ariza on Donovan Mitchell. It is clear that the best defender is going to guard Donovan every night. The lack of Rodney Hood and Joe Johnson is obvious when Mitchell is off the floor or the opponent digs into Mitchell.
- Rudy Gobert has not been able to impact games at his highest level since returning from the injury.
- The Jazz are starting Derrick Favors and Rudy Gobert because they both deserve to start, but not for the well-being of the offense or team success right now. When they were on the floor together tonight, the Jazz got outscored 27-10. This is a really tough situation for the Jazz and Quin Snyder. They are trying to sneak through the opening moments of the game and then get to the most effective lineups, but it has not worked the last three games.
- Donovan Mitchell started slowly, but by the end of the night had 26 points on 9 of 19 shooting and 2 of 6 from 3. He is averaging 26 points a game in the last five games. There are a lot of garbage time points in this with the game turning into a blowout so quickly, but give Donovan credit for continuing to compete.
- Joe Ingles had a great start to the game. He was straight balling.
- Derrick Favors finished with 28 minutes and 2 of 4 shooting with 5 points and 5 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal and 2 blocks. Rudy Gobert played 28 minutes as well and had 6 points, 9 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, 2 blocks and 5 turnovers. The Jazz need better production out of these two players. Both are much better than this level of production.
- Thabo Sefolosha was a plus 12 tonight and had 14 points and 5 rebounds.
- The Rockets followed the script they have been playing with all season. They won their 8th straight game and have won 14 of the last 15. They won eight straight by an average of about 20 points and the 14 of 15 by an average of about 17 points. They have led by 10 or more points for 38% of their minutes played coming into the game tonight. Tonight, they never led by 10 in the first half, but did for almost the entire second. They have led by 10 or more in over 50% of their second half minutes and by 20 or more in 25% of those minutes.
- The Rockets are great. They are going to make a real run at the number one seed and the Warriors should be worried.
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