Cincinnati.com
National Basketball Association
Preview
Utah at Houston
When: 8:00 PM ET, Wednesday, October 24, 2018
Where: Toyota Center, Houston, Texas

The Utah Jazz and Houston Rockets met in the Western Conference semifinals last season and figure to be prime contenders to get at least that far in 2018-19. However, both squads have stumbled out of the gate and are just looking to get back to .500 when they meet Wednesday in Houston.

The Rockets split a pair in Los Angeles, first surviving a fight-marred game against the Lakers on Saturday before falling the next night to the Clippers without suspended star point guard Chris Paul. Paul will be serving the second game of his two-game suspension for the fight with Lakers guard Rajon Rondo, likely giving veteran backup Eric Gordon another start in the backcourt. The Jazz dropped both ends of their first homestand of the season, first fading down the stretch against Golden State and then struggling on the offensive end in a 92-84 loss to Memphis on Monday. Utah's starting five combined to shoot 32.7 percent -- including 3-for-21 from 3-point range -- in the setback.

TV: 8 p.m. ET, AT&T SportsNet Rocky Mountain (Utah), AT&T SportsNet Southwest (Houston)

ABOUT THE JAZZ (1-2): After scoring 81 points in the first half against the Warriors on Friday, Utah has had six straight quarters with 24 or fewer points and it produced only 38 after halftime against the Grizzlies. "I think that we had spurts where we got stagnant," guard Donovan Mitchell told reporters. "Just little things. I think that they took us out of what we wanted to do. That can't happen." Reserve forward Jae Crowder led the way with 15 points while Mitchell and fellow starting guard Ricky Rubio combined for 20 on 7-of-25 shooting.

ABOUT THE ROCKETS (1-2): While Gordon -- who scored 21 points while starting in place of Paul against the Clippers -- figures to get another start, forward James Ennis III (hamstring) will be sidelined for a couple of games. Coach Mike D'Antoni told reporters that Michael Carter-Williams will get the start in place of Ennis. All the changes could place more on the shoulders of MVP James Harden, who averaged 33.5 points and 9.5 assists in the 1-1 trip to Los Angeles.

BUZZER BEATERS

1. Harden averaged 28 points in the playoffs against Utah last spring but shot just 40.4 percent.

2. Jazz SF Joe Ingles was 1-of-7 from long range against Memphis after hitting 11-of-17 3-pointers through the first two games.

3. Houston won all four regular-season meetings in 2017-18 by an average of 17.5 points.

PREDICTION: Rockets 109, Jazz 101
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away Day Night Div Conf
Utah 1-2 L2 0-2 1-0 0-0 1-2 0-0 1-2
Houston 1-2 L1 0-1 1-1 0-0 1-2 0-1 1-2
Last Meeting
Utah Houston
Date Away Home Pts Reb FG% Pts Reb FG%
5/8/18 UTA 102 HOU 112 102 41 46.9 112 40 48.2
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Points Player Total FG% FTM
Utah D. Mitchell 24 52.9 4
Houston C. Paul 41 59.1 7
Rebounds Player Total Off Def
Utah R. Gobert 9 4 5
Houston C. Paul 7 0 7
Assists Player  
Utah D. Mitchell 9
Houston C. Paul 10
Season
Points Player Total FG% FTM
Utah D. Mitchell 103 36.7 15
Houston J. Harden 166 42.6 42
Rebounds Player Total Off Def
Utah R. Gobert 61 15 46
Houston C. Capela 51 15 36
Assists Player  
Utah R. Rubio 29
Houston J. Harden 60
Quickchart Matchup
Utah Utah Off vs  Houston Houston Defense
Utah Off vs Houston - Points For 110.0 Points For
Utah Off vs Houston - Points Against 120.3 Points Against
Utah - FG% 44.0 FG%
Houston - FG% 49.5 FG%
Utah - Reb 44.0 Reb
Houston - Reb 49.0 Reb
Houston Houston Off vs  Utah Utah Defense
Houston Off vs Utah - Points For 116.0 Points For
Houston Off vs Utah - Points Against 111.0 Points Against
Houston - FG% 45.5 FG%
Utah - FG% 48.5 FG%
Houston - Reb 42.0 Reb
Utah - Reb 41.0 Reb