Rockets 96, Jazz 85 - Be Afraid

By Forrest Walker on February 26, 2018

If you're not afraid of this Houston Rockets team, you should be. On a grueling night in Utah, without four rotation players, exhausted from playing in Denver the evening prior, the Rockets overcame a 15-point deficit to the Utah Jazz and ended the evening with a double-digit win. That's not normal. That's not even special. That's monstrous. The Rockets are on an absolute tear and have no mercy for opponents who are playing for their playoff lives. Do not cross paths with them if you want to survive.

Eric Gordon and Clint Capela were sick. Ryan Anderson was dealing with a hip flexor issue. Brandan Wright sat with knee soreness. The Rockets were staggering into a trap game, and a young, hungry Jazz team wasted no time in opening up a lead. With tired legs usually taking their toll in the last half of the game, the Rockets had a steep uphill climb ahead of them with a 15-point lead to surmount and 4:30 left in the first half. This situation would have been a death knell in any reasonable scenario. Without Capela, Rudy Gobert was having his way. Donovan Mitchell was going off. The Jazz must have felt confident in their win, and another step closer to the playoffs.

Instead, Chris Paul and James Harden decided to pull their souls out through their faces with a lot of help from Luc Richard Mbah a Moute.

The Rockets shot only 27% from deep in a game they won by double digits. They scored under 100 in a win. James Harden drew multiple fouls on three point shots. Chris Paul ended the night on a tear, ending with 15 points and an equal +/-. Luc was not only perfect from the field on 7 shots (including two threes), hey also keyed a remarkable defense which allowed this comeback to even occur.

This Rockets team is terrifying in aspect, and their ability to shapeshift at will is underrated and threatening. When their shots are falling, they can bury any team in scoring. When the threes don't sink, they can fall back onto defense. They can play large, or in the case of tonight, go ultra-small to close out a game and stymie Rudy Gobert. They can win 14 games in a row with a fast-paced offense, or they can slow it to a crawl and win 13 in a row with grinding isolation. They've filled out their bench with enough depth that they can play their game with four rotation players missing.

If you aren't terrified of this Rockets team, you aren't paying attention. And that's exactly how they get you.

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