Editorial by Graydon Fox
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On Tuesday, May 8th, the Utah Jazz will be on the road to take on the Houston Rockets in game five of their Western Conference Semifinal Series.
The Rockets hold a (3-1) series advantage.
“The Crowd” is projecting a final score of Rockets 108.4 – Jazz 101.2 with an over/under of 209.6.
Statistical Breakdown (2017-18 season):
Point differential: Rockets +8.5 (1st) > Jazz +4.3 (5th)
Points per game: Rockets 112.4 (12th) > Jazz 104.1 (19th)
Points allowed per game: Jazz 99.8 (1st) > Rockets 103.9 (6th)
Field Goal Percentage Offense: Jazz 46.2% (13th) > Rockets 46.0% (15th)
Three Point Percentage: Jazz 36.6% (11th) > Rockets 36.2% (13th)
Field Goal Percentage Defense: Jazz 44.9% (6th) > Rockets 46.2% (16th)
Turnovers committed per game: Rockets 13.2 (10th) > Jazz 14.1 (19th)
Turnovers forced per game: Jazz 14.5 (5th) > Rockets 14.0 (9th)
Rebounds per game: Rockets 43.5 (17th) > Jazz 43.3 (20th)
Assists per game: Jazz 22.4 (21st) > Rockets 21.5 (25th)
The Rockets now have a commanding (3-1) lead in this series after their 100-87 road victory over the Jazz. Houston shot 42% from the field and shot a tremendous 94% from the free throw line in the victory. Chris Paul led the way with 27 points, 12 rebounds, and 6 assists. James Harden scored 24 points on an ugly 8-22 from the field and also had 8 turnovers. Clint Capela had a double-double with 12 points and 15 rebounds. Overall, the Rockets played far from their best game and were still able to win by double digits. This postseason, the Rockets are averaging 109.2 points per game (3rd) and allowing 99.9 (3rd).
The Jazz now are in a win or go home scenario after falling in game four. Utah has now failed to score 100 points in three of the four games against the Rockets thus far. The Jazz shot just 38% from the field and turned the ball over 17 times in the loss. Utah relies heavily on the three ball but they shot only24% from long distance in game four. Donovan Mitchell had 25 points and 9 rebounds but he shot 8-24 from the field. Joe Ingles had 15 points and 8 rebounds. Rudy Gobert had a double double with 11 points and 10 rebounds. Outside of Mitchell, the Jazz lack the offensive firepower and players to create that can create their own shot. In the playoffs, the Jazz are averaging 102.4 points per game (10th) and allowing 103.8 (7th).
For all the attention the Rockets get for their offensive prowess, they have been the second best defensive team in the playoffs. Utah has to shoot lights out from three point range to keep up with the high scoring Rockets who have more than enough players that can make plays off the dribble. James Harden will bounce back with a huge performance and lead the Rockets to the Western Conference finals.
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