What to watch for: Utah Jazz vs Houston Rockets

The Utah Jazz kick off the second half of the season by welcoming the Houston Rockets to Vivint Smart Home Arena.
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Rudy Gobert (27) with a dunk against the Houston Rockets

Rudy Gobert (27) with a dunk against the Houston Rockets

The Utah Jazz return to action on Friday night as they welcome the Houston Rockets to Salt Lake City. Donovan Mitchell, Mike Conley, Rudy Gobert, and Quin Snyder all took part in the All-Star Festivities during the week-long break.

Jazz vs Rockets Throwback:

Bojan Bogdanovic (44) hits a game-winning three-pointer at the buzzer over PJ Tucker (17) and James Harden (13)

Bojan Bogdanovic (44) hits a game-winning three-pointer at the buzzer over PJ Tucker (17) and James Harden (13)

The Jazz and Rockets have met a total of 204 times throughout the two team's histories. Utah holds the lead overall with 106-98 wins all-time over Houston. 

One of the Jazz biggest highlights of the 2019-2020 season came on February 9, 2020. Down by two with 1.6 seconds left in the fourth quarter, Joe Ingles passed the ball in to Bojan Bogdanovic. Bogdanovic pulled-up and drilled a three pointer over two defenders at the buzzer to beat the Rockets 114-113. 

Key Players:

Mike Conley and Victor Oladipo are the two guards to keep your eye on during Friday night's Western Conference matchup.

Conley is coming off of his first All-Star appearance where he knocked down three-points and totaled two-assists. He has helped lead the Jazz to be in the top spot in the NBA and consistently makes players around him better when he is on the floor. Conley has averaged 14-points, 3.75-rebounds, 1.5-steals, and 6.25-assists in his last four games. Conley also leads the team in assists (5.7) and steals (1.4) per game.

Mike Conley (10) scoots through the lane against the Houston Rockets

Mike Conley (10) scoots through the lane against the Houston Rockets

Oladipo was included in the James Harden trade earlier this season, and has played well for the Rockets since making his way to the team. He has averaged 25.75-points, 4.75-rebounds, and 5.25-assists in his last four games. 

Fun Facts:

The Jazz will start the second half of the season with the long awaited 'Earned Edition' uniform. This is the first time that Utah has broken out their green jerseys during the 2020-2021 season. They will play 10-games in the green uniforms throughout the second half of the season, beginning Friday night against the Rockets.

Rudy Gobert, Donovan Mitchell, Mike Conley, and Quin Snyder all took part in the All-Star game last weekend. Gobert finished with 10-points and 7-rebounds helping Head Coach Quin Snyder and Team LeBron get the victory over Mitchell, Conley, and Team Durant 170-150.

Utah added vetran Ersan Ilyasova to the roster on Wednesday, adding depth and added shooting to the frontcourt. Ilyasova was part of the Milwaukee Bucks during the 2019-2020 season where he helped them get to the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals.

It was announced on Thursday that the Jazz will increase attendance to 5,600 fans to begin the second half of the NBA season. Fans are required to wear a mask, sit six-feet apart, and pass a health screening before entering the Arena.

Even though the Jazz finished their last four games of the first half of the season 1-3, they remain in first place in the NBA. They currently have a 27-9 record, holding the edge over the Phoenix Suns by two games, the Los Angeles Lakers by three and a half games, and the Los Angeles Clippers by three and a half games in the Western Conference. They also lead the Philadelphia 76ers by two and a half games, and the Brooklyn Nets by three games in the Eastern Conference.

Houston has been nothing short of abysmal this season. They are currently 11-24 and sit in third-to-last place in the NBA, only leading the Minnesota Timberwolves and Detroit Pistons. They are on a 14-game losing streak with their last win coming on Thursday February 4 against the Memphis Grizzlies.

News was released yesterday that the Rocket's PJ Tucker has played in his last game in a Houston uniform.

Rookie Udoka Azubuike is still the only player on the Utah Jazz injury report

Houston unfortunately has been riddled with injuries. Currently, P.J. Tucker (undisclosed, not currently with team), John Wall (knee), and Victor Oladipo (maintenance-related issues) are all listed as day-to-day. Eric Gordon (groin), Danuel House Jr. (knee), Rodions Kurucs (oblique), Christian Wood (ankle), David Nwaba (wrist), and former Jazzman Dante Exum (calf) are all currently listed as 'out'. 

How to Consume:

The Utah Jazz will welcome the Houston Rockets and the second half of the NBA season on Friday night. Jazz fans can catch tonight's game on AT&T SportsNet, and on the radio on 97.5FM or 1280AM. Tipoff will be at 8pm MST at Vivint Smart Home Arena.

Donovan Mitchell (45) makes a move against PJ Tucker (17) and Robert Covington (33)

Donovan Mitchell (45) makes a move against PJ Tucker (17) and Robert Covington (33)

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