Tuesday, April 23, 2024
Fantasy Guru - Baseball

NBA Preview: Houston Rockets (37-35) at Utah Jazz (29-44)

Two rebuilding teams with vastly different trajectories this season will meet in Salt Lake City on Friday night when the Utah Jazz host the Houston Rockets.

The Jazz (29-44) limp into the contest, having lost seven in a row and 18 of their last 21 games. The Rockets (37-35) have put together a 10-game winning streak, second-longest in the NBA this season behind an 11-game run by the Boston Celtics.

With their 132-126 overtime win at Oklahoma City on Wednesday night, the Rockets kept pace with the victorious Golden State Warriors in the race for the final spot in the play-in tournament. Entering Friday’s action, Golden State has a one-game lead with 10 games remaining in the regular season.

Green led Houston with 37 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists. He made it clear that Houston is determined to qualify for postseason play despite being nine games below .500 a month ago. Since then, the Rockets have won 12 of 13, with the sole loss taking place on March 6, 122-116 against the Los Angeles Clippers.

Houston plays Golden State at home on April 4.

Green, the second pick of the 2021 draft, has averaged 29.8 points while shooting 51 percent overall and 45.9 percent from 3-point territory during the streak.

Houston, which has had the worst record in the Western Conference the previous three seasons, hasn’t had this type of streak since winning 11 straight in March 2018.

The Jazz, meanwhile, had a .500 record not too long ago before the bottom fell out of their season in the aftermath of trading away three rotation players in mid-February. Utah improved to 26-26 on Feb. 6 after, coincidentally, defeating the Thunder 124-117. It’s been slim pickings since then, however, as Utah has the NBA’s worst record since the trade deadline and its roughest stretch since a 25-win season in 2014.

Utah fell behind the San Antonio Spurs by 19 points in the first half Wednesday night en route to a 118-111 loss at home.

Collin Sexton totaled 26 points and nine assists in the loss to the Spurs and Markkanen added 25 points, but the Jazz were in a big hole most of the way until making a final push to get within four in the final 23 seconds.

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