Utah at Houston
Time: 7 PM CT (TNT)
Spread: HOU -8
Odds c/o 5dimes
The Utah Jazz and Donovan Mitchell were able to stave off elimination on its home court in Game 4, winning 107-91 to get its first win in the series. Will it be able to continue to win with its backs against the proverbial wall? NBA oddsmakers do not think so, favoring the Houston Rockets to close this series out as 8-point favorites at 7 PM (CT) on TNT. The betting total is set at 213.5 points according to oddsmakers at bookmaker 5dimes.
Houston won the first three games of this best-of-seven, but second-year guard Donovan Mitchell showed up in a big way in Game 4. The Louisville product scored a game-high 31 points on 11 of 26 shooting while adding seven boards and four assists. Mitchell finished with a +8 differential for his 40 minutes of play. Jae Crowder, not known to be an offensive threat, also contributed 23 points on 8 of 13 shooting while finishing +10 for his 33 minutes of play.
The Jazz won the battle of the boards by a margin of +17 (!) which was one of the decisive factors in the game. Utah grabbed 16 offensive rebounds, as the Rockets continued to fail with box outs, allowing a lot of second shots and also utterly falling apart in the fourth quarter which saw the Jazz outscore Houston 31-12. The Jazz was able to erase a three-point deficit heading into the fourth with its dominant defense and glass work. That M.O. may have worked in Utah, but can it work in Houston where the Jazz have yet to secure a victory in this series?
Crucial in making that happen will be continuing the tough defense it played, but Utah also must do a better job on closing out three-point shots. James Harden and Eric Gordon combined to hit 11 of 22 from three in Game 4, and if not for the rest of the team utterly playing horrible basketball, that advantage may have mattered more. Chris Paul and Harden combined for 53 points and Gordon added another 16, but the Rockets bench scored just five points on collective 2 of 16 shooting, with only Austin Rivers even managing to score (all five).
Utah’s depth and defense could make a difference and it may even manage to win this as underdogs, but the series is going to be a tough win after trailing 0-3 to start it. Expect the Jazz to fall as Houston closes this out as the favorites Vegas oddsmakers have made it. Harden and the Rockets smell blood and a chance to advance to the second round.