The Houston Rockets lead the Utah Jazz 3-0 and will soon be locking up their first-round series. Unless the Jazz stage a historical comeback, this series should be over in the next few games. After blowing the Jazz out 122-90 in Game 1 and 118-98 in Game 2, Game 3 was a bit closer. The Rockets won the last game by just three points on the Jazz’s home court.
With the Jazz keeping it close against the Rockets in Game 3, the spread is at -2.5 in favor of the Rockets. The money line for the Rockets is -145 while the Jazz sit at +125. The over/under for the game is 214 points.
Harden Must Perform
Harden scored just 22 points in Game 3 as the Jazz really kept him in check. If the Rockets are going to sweep the Jazz, he is going to have to play like himself. During the regular season against Utah, Harden played well, averaging 33.5 points a game but had an awful assist-to-turnover ratio of 19 to 24.
While the Rockets did have the second-best offense in the NBA during the regular season, they struggled against the Jazz. Per 100 possessions, the Rockets scored just 99.0 points against the Jazz. That mark was the worst among all other teams they played this season. Three of the Rockets’ eight worst offensive games came against the Jazz this season.
In order for the Rockets to win, James Harden is going to have to perform like he is capable of and will need to score the ball.
Jazz Defense Has To Show Up
Utah’s defense has been known for the past few years to be one of the best units in the NBA, and this year is no exception. If there is any team out there who can stop the Rockets, it has to be the Jazz. The Jazz have the second-best defensive unit by the numbers, but they have already shown that they can stop Harden in Game 3.
Donovan Mitchell is a really solid player in his own right, and he has scored over 26 points a game on 40 percent shooting himself after the calendar turned to 2019. Mitchell is going to have to outduel Harden the rest of the series if the Jazz want to have a shot. Chris Paul, Eric Gordon, and Clint Capela aren’t going to be able to win this series if the Jazz shut Harden down.
Easy Money with the Rockets
The Rockets are only favored by -2.5 points, and that seems extremely low. With the close game a few days ago where Harden only had 22 points, I don’t expect that the Jazz are going to be able to hold him there again. It’s my expectation that the Rockets come out firing and Harden attempts to silence his critics. The Rockets are going to win this game; the question is whether or not the final score will be close or another blowout. I am putting my money on the Rockets tonight and running.