The rival franchises have long been associated with success but are currently heading in opposite directions.
In the two teams' first meeting this season, the Utah Jazz dominated the Houston Rockets in a 114-99 rout. Donovan Mitchell had 28 points, eight assists and seven rebounds, while Mike Conley added 20 points to lead the league’s No. 1 team to victory.
At the time, the Rockets were in the middle of one of the longest losing streaks in league history. It was their 15th straight loss, which would be extended to 20 losses later on.
Fixture - Utah Jazz vs Houston Rockets | 2020-21 NBA Season
Date & Time - Wednesday, April 21st, 8:00 PM ET (Thursday, April 22nd, 5:30 AM IST)
Venue - Toyota Center, Houston, TX
Utah Jazz Preview
The Utah Jazz are looking to make it two straight wins on Wednesday after securing a 111-97 blowout victory over the LA Lakers on Monday.
Even without Donovan Mitchell, who is dealing with a sprained right ankle, coach Scott Snyder has the personnel to keep this team going.
Just as with their win over the Lakers, the Utah Jazz will rely on balanced scoring to offset the loss of their leading scorer. Six players scored in double figures that night, with Sixth Man of the Year candidate Jordan Clarkson earning top billing with 22 points, while Joe Ingles had 21. They demoralized the defending champs from the start and staved off any and every rally they made during the game.
When they face the Houston Rockets again, the Utah Jazz will have to start the game similarly.
Key Player - Mike Conley
Mike Conley may not be the big-time scorer that most elite point guards are, but he gets the job done for the Utah Jazz.
In Monday’s win, the All-Star guard had 14 points and 10 assists in 29 minutes as he orchestrated the team’s offense to perfection. In his last seven games, his assists have gone up to 7.4 compared to 5.8 earlier in the season.
Without Mitchell, who doubles as the Utah Jazz’s floor general during stretches, Conley’s playmaking will be crucial to the team's bid to maintain the league’s best record.
On Wednesday, he’ll be up against the Houston Rockets’ John Wall.
Utah Jazz Predicted Lineup
Point Guard - Mike Conley l Shooting Guard - Joe Ingles l Small Forward - Bojan Bogdanovic l Power Forward - Royce O’Neale l Center - Rudy Gobert
Houston Rockets Preview
The Houston Rockets are coming off a 113-91 loss to the Miami Heat on Monday. It was another poor showing offensively from the Rockets, who failed to reach 100 points for the second time in three games. Against a top-ranked defensive team like the Heat, there was very little they could do to put points on the board.
With a 27th-ranked offense, it was not a surprise that they struggled against the Miami Heat. There’s no relief in sight for the Houston Rockets, however, as they face an even tougher defensive squad in the Utah Jazz.
Wall and Christian Wood will have to make sure that they play smart basketball to have any chance of winning this game.
Key Player - Christian Wood
Christian Wood will be going up against one of the best defenders in the league when he faces the Utah Jazz’s Rudy Gobert.
Unlike most teams where Wood’s size would be a problem, Gobert will not be fazed against the talented young big.
The fifth-year player has been shooting well from three, so he could use that to his advantage. Over his last nine games, the Houston Rockets center has made 43.1 percent of his three-point attempts while scoring 21.6 points a night.
If he’s able to cash in on a few threes early in the game, it could open up the door for his team to attack the basket.
Houston Rockets Predicted Lineup
Point Guard - John Wall l Shooting Guard - Kevin Porter Jr. l Small Forward - Jae’Sean Tate Power Forward - Kelly Olynyk l Center - Christian Wood
Jazz vs Rockets Match Prediction
The Houston Rockets have one of the worst records in the league this season at 15-43. It’s easy to see how the Utah Jazz will win this game on Wednesday. Defense will be key, and the Jazz are as consistent as any team on that end of the floor.
The Houston Rockets are unlikely to reach 100 points again as the Utah Jazz will show their superiority against a struggling team.