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James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets controls the ball defended by Ricky Rubio #3 of the Utah Jazz in the second half at Toyota Center on October 24, 2018 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
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‘Containing’ Harden Will Be Key For Utah In Playoffs

James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets controls the ball defended by Ricky Rubio #3 of the Utah Jazz in the second half at Toyota Center on October 24, 2018 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – With just one day before the start of the Utah Jazz’ first game in the NBA Playoffs against the Houston Rockets, the Jazz Notes podcast talked about the keys to the game for Utah.

According to hosts Austin Facer and Trevor Allen, it’ll be a different series this time around for the Jazz and a big reason why is the availability of Jazz point guard Ricky Rubio.

The Jazz faced the Rockets in the second round of last year’s playoffs and were eliminated by Houston in five games. They were without Rubio for the entire series as the Spanish-born point guard was out with a hamstring injury.

For Rubio, who is playing in the final year of his contract, it may be an opportunity to audition for an extension with the Jazz, said Facer.

“We saw at the midway point of the season this year, the narrative was: does Utah need to improve the point guard spot. This is really Ricky’s opportunity to say ‘You know what, you guys need me,’” said Facer.

To Allen, it’ll be key for the Jazz to contain Rockets star James Harden.

“You’re not going to shut down James Harden,” said Allen. “There’s not a single player out there who can shut him down. But you can contain him.”

Allen continued to break down the best possible ways of guarding Harden and making him uncomfortable, a job that Facer believes will fall to Jazz forward Joe Ingles.

Facer and Allen discuss all things Jazz playoffs on the Jazz Notes podcast, which will have daily episodes through the Jazz playoff run.

The Jazz Notes podcast is available on KSLSports.com or wherever podcasts are found.