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Many Key Matchups To Watch In Jazz-Rockets Series

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – As Game 1 of the first round series between the Jazz and the Rockets inch closer on Sunday, there are many matchups to watch for in the series.

In the second round series last year, the Rockets had the upper hand at almost every position. This season, the Jazz are more equipped and are healthy entering the playoffs.

Rudy Gobert, Donovan Mitchell and Derrick Favors have all improved.

Gobert vs. Capela

Last season when the two teams met in the second round, where the Rockets won the series 4-1, it was clear that Clint Capela had a better series than Rudy Gobert. In the five game series, Capela averaged 13 points, 10.2 rebounds and 3.6 blocks per game. Gobert posted 12.2 points, 10.2 rebounds and 2.6 blocks per game.

This season, Capela improved his scoring from last season when he averaged 13.9 last season and is putting up 16.6 points per game this season. He has also improved his rebounds from 10.8 to 12.7 this year.

Gobert has improved as well with a 15.9 point per game average this year compared to 13.5 points last season. His rebounding improved from 10.7 last year to 12.9 this season.

It will be fun to see how the two players matchup as they have both significantly improved this year.

Donovan Sights On Championship

Like every team and player that is in the playoffs, they have their sights set on winning a championship. Donovan Mitchell isn’t different in that regard.

“I play this game to win,” said Mitchell at Jazz practice. “Why can’t we as a team get to that point? I think we have the mentality to get there,” he added.

Ricky Rubio vs. Chris Paul

When the Jazz faced the Rockets last year in the postseason, they had to do it without Ricky Rubio, who missed the entire series with a hamstring injury. In the first round matchup against Oklahoma City, Rubio was brilliant. He averaged 14 points, 7.3 rebounds and 7 assists per game in his first career playoff series. This season, he missed the last three games with a quad injury.

Chris Paul is one of the best point guards in the NBA. He is averaging 15.6 points, 4.6 rebounds and 8.2 assists per game this season, having played in 58 games both this season and last.

In the second round series last season, Paul had two particular games where he was outstanding. He recorded 27 points in Game 4 and 41 points, 7 rebounds and 10 assists to close out the series in Game 5.