NBA Starting Lineups and Match Prediction: Houston Rockets vs Utah Jazz - Game 4
Houston Rockets (53-29) vs Utah Jazz (50-32)
23rd April 2019, 8:00am IST,
Vivint Smart Home Arena, Salt Lake City, Utah
Head to Head (Playoffs):
Games played: 47 games
Won by Houston Rockets: 25 games
Won by Utah Jazz: 22 games
The Utah Jazz will enjoy home court privilege as the Houston Rockets visit the Vivint Smart Home Arena in Utah for Game 4 of their forst-round playoff series. The Rockets currently hold a massive 3-0 lead in the series and will look to finish it off here.
The Utah Jazz were one of the better teams in the NBA during the second half of the 2018-19 regular season. But so far, they have not been able to show why they were touted as a team to avoid in the lower bracket. They have been poor in all 3 of their matches and look like they are about to be swept by the Rockets.
The Houston Rockets, on the other hand, have been one of the most dominant teams in the league this season. After a torrid start, they have looked absolutely unstoppable with James Harden having one of his best scoring seasons in the league. He struggled to find his shot in Game 3, but has still led the Rockets to a 3-0 lead.
Houston Rockets: No injuries to report as of now
Utah Jazz: Guard Dante Exum is questionable with a knee injury.
Players to watch out for:
James Harden (Houston Rockets):
Harden is having one of the best scoring seasons in NBA history and it does not look like he will stop anytime soon. He has been marked really well all series long but it has not really had much effect on his game.
He is the best player on the court and has shown it each night, averaging 27.7 points, 10 assists and 8.3 rebounds in 35 minutes per game. He has even got it done on the defensive end, averaging 2 steals and a block per game.
His biggest strength, apart from his famous step back, is his ability to get to the free throw line, which has been on show in this series too. Harden has averaged at least 8 free throws a game, 3 lower than his regular season average, but still a lot.
Last game stats: 22 points, 3-20 FG, 10 assists, 4 rebounds, 6 steals, 1 block and 4 TOs.
Donovan Mitchell (Utah Jazz):
Donovan Mitchell has been the only scoring option on this Jazz team since his rookie season last year and he has taken on the responsibility of leading this team. He has been playing really good basketball this season but his inconsistencies have let the team down at some crucial moments.
Mitchell has blown hot and cold this season and even in this series, he has been erratic. But as game 3 showed, Mitchell has the ability to light it up anytime he want to. He is averaging 21.3 points, 3.7 assists and 4 rebounds, along with 2 steals a game.
However, Mitchell has shot just 33% from the field and 29% from beyond the arc, which are poor shooting percentages for a guard who has to lead his team through a playoff series. Still, if Game 3 is anything to go by, the Rockets really need to lock down on him.
Last game stats: 34 points, 9-27 FG, 6 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 steals, 1 block and 3 TOs.
Predicted Starting Lineups:
Houston Rockets: Chris Paul (G), James Harden (G), Eric Gordon (G), PJ Tucker (F), Clint Capela (C)
Utah Jazz: Ricky Rubio (G), Donovan Mitchell (G), Joe Ingles (F), Jae Crowder (F), Rudy Gobert (C)
Predicted Match Result: Houston Rockets to beat the Utah Jazz
The Utah Jazz just lack the depth to contain the 3 point shooting prowess that each of the Rockets' players possess. They also depend too heavily on Donovan Mitchell, who has shown up in just 1 game.
While the Jazz are doing great work in keeping Harden quiet, he is still scoring at least 20 points each night while the other players on the roster chip in with some points as well. The Rockets ultimately have too much firepower for the Jazz to deal with and should end up sweeping the series.