Houston (1-1) at Utah (1-1)
When: Friday, May 4th 2018
Where: Vivint Smart Home Arena, Salt Lake City, UT
Time: 10:35 ET | TV: ESPN
Opening Odds: Houston -4.5/207
The Utah Jazz finally broke-through against a team that gave them fits all season long, and have seized home court advantage in their best-of-seven Western Conference semifinal series with the Houston Rockets. The Jazz had dropped all five matchups this season with the Rockets by double-digits, including a 14-point setback in Game 1 of this series. Joe Ingles scored a career-high 27 points as the Jazz squandered a big early lead before using a big fourth quarter to regain control and even the series up, heading back to Salt Lake City, where they are 31-13 this season. Ingles made a career-best seven 3-pointers and star rookie Donovan Mitchell added 17 points and 11 assists. It was the first sub-20-point game for Mitchell this postseason and the first where he didn’t lead his team in scoring. James Harden had 32 points and 11 assists, while Chris Paul added 23 points, but Houston’s bench was outscored 41-22 and shot 7-of-25 from the floor. The Rockets had won 25 of their previous 26 home games – including the playoffs – before a lackluster start doomed them in Game 2. Houston won each of the two matchups at Utah during the regular season by 11 points.
Coach Mike D’Antoni wasn’t happy with his team’s focus in Game 2, and hopes for a better effort on Friday. “You get lulled into sleep. You think this stuff’s easy. It’s not easy, ” D’Antoni said after the game on Wednesday. “This is the NBA. This is the [conference] semifinals. We kind of got lulled into it, and we paid for it.” Clint Capela had another solid game offensively, finishing with 21 points and 11 rebounds for his fourth consecutive double-double. Power forward Ryan Anderson has five points on 2-of-9 shooting in 43 minutes over his last four games.
Ingles has been a huge surprise for Utah, averaging 15.9 points in the playoffs – up from 11.5 during the regular season – while making 50.9% of his three-point attempts. Backup small forward Jae Crowder is averaging 18 points in the series while making 8-of-13 3-pointers. Mitchell’s 26.1 average this postseason ranks him sixth in the league, and fifth among players still in the playoffs. The Jazz won all three home games against Oklahoma City in the first round, holding them under 100 points twice.
Houston will still win this series, but Utah is not dead, and now they go home where their defense plays really well. They held opponents to 96.7 points a game on 43.4% shooting at Vivint Smart Arena this season and will be ready to play. Mitchell hasn’t shot well in the first two games, but he’s getting used to playing the point position and looked good in Game 2. I say Utah keeps it close.
Pick: Jazz +4
- Rockets are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 after allowing 100 points or more in their previous game.
- Rockets are 9-4 ATS in their last 13 road games vs. a team with a home winning % of greater than .600.
- Rockets are 13-6 ATS in their last 19 vs. NBA Northwest.
- Rockets are 4-9 ATS in their last 13 vs. Western Conference.
- Rockets are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 road games vs. a team with a winning home record.
- Rockets are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 road games.
- Jazz are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 home games.
- Jazz are 6-2 ATS in their last 8 after scoring 100 points or more in their previous game.
- Jazz are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 after allowing 100 points or more in their previous game.
- Jazz are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 vs. NBA Southwest.
- Over is 4-0 in Rockets last 4 when their opponent allows 100 points or more in their previous game.
- Under is 5-1-1 in Rockets last 7 Friday games.
- Under is 5-1 in Rockets last 6 games following a ATS loss.
- Over is 4-1 in Rockets last 5 overall.
- Over is 4-1 in Rockets last 5 road games vs. a team with a winning home record.
- Over is 4-1 in Rockets last 5 vs. NBA Northwest.
- Over is 4-1 in Rockets last 5 road games vs. a team with a home winning % of greater than .600.
- Over is 4-1 in Rockets last 5 after scoring 100 points or more in their previous game.
- Under is 7-2 in Rockets last 9 when their opponent scores 100 points or more in their previous game.
- Over is 7-2 in Rockets last 9 vs. a team with a winning straight up record.
- Over is 11-4 in Rockets last 15 Conference Semifinals games.
- Under is 27-10 in Rockets last 37 vs. Western Conference.
- Under is 10-4 in Rockets last 14 games playing on 1 days rest.
- Under is 5-2 in Rockets last 7 games following a straight up loss.
- Over is 9-2 in Jazz last 11 vs. a team with a winning straight up record.
- Under is 4-1 in Jazz last 5 games playing on 1 days rest.
- Under is 4-1 in Jazz last 5 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600.
- Over is 6-2 in Jazz last 8 after allowing 100 points or more in their previous game.
- Over is 9-3-1 in Jazz last 13 Conference Semifinals games.
- Over is 21-8 in Jazz last 29 vs. NBA Southwest.
- Over is 5-2 in Jazz last 7 home games.
- Over is 13-6 in Jazz last 19 vs. Western Conference.
- Rockets are 5-1 ATS in the last 6 meetings.
- Favorite is 5-1 ATS in the last 6 meetings.
- Over is 7-2 in the last 9 meetings.