UTAH JAZZ

Jazz Looking To Improve, Rockets Looking For Bodies

Mar 12, 2021, 7:10 PM | Updated: 8:36 pm
Mike Conley of the Utah Jazz (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)...
Mike Conley of the Utah Jazz (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)
(Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – You’d be hard-pressed to find two more dissimilar teams in a single NBA matchup than you will when the Utah Jazz face the Houston Rockets tonight.

As the Jazz look to improve on their league-best 27-9 record, the Rockets are simply looking to find enough available bodies to meet the league minimum required eight players just to start an NBA game.

Before the game, Jazz coach Quin Snyder said his team is continuing to try to improve its strengths and identity over the final half of the season.

“When you look at the things that we’ve had success doing, I think the challenge then is to continue to do them and do them better,” Snyder said. “Because people are going to start trying to take them away.”

Snyder mentioned teams adjusting to the Jazz defensively by guarding the pick and roll with just two players, allowing other defenders to stick with the Jazz potent three-point shooters.

“If teams are trying to take away our shooters or play our pick and roll game two-on-two,” Snyder said, “I think we can continue to be patient in the lane and not settle necessarily for early shots.”

While Utah is focused on what they are doing on the floor, Houston focused on who they can have on the floor.

The Rockets will start Kevin Porter Jr., Ben McLemore, Sterling Brown, Jae’Sean Tate, and Justin Patton.

Patton has appeared in 16 games during his career, Tate has appeared in 35, Porter Jr. has played in 51, Brown has played 197, while McLemore has played in 464. That’s a total of 763 total games from the Rockets starting five.

Jazz guard Mike Conley has played in 864 games on his own, 828 of which have been starts.

Despite playing shorthanded, Rockets coach Stephen Silas said he was excited for his young players.

“Giving these guys the opportunity to play and get some minutes and kind of I wouldn’t say live out their dream, but really just get a big-time opportunity in an NBA game against a very good team is good for everybody.”

The Rockets will also have Anthony Lamb, Kenyon Martin Jr., recently signed Mason Jones, and an injured David Nwaba available off the bench.

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