UTAH JAZZ

Jazz Face Rockets In Potential Trap Game

Oct 28, 2021, 1:43 PM | Updated: 2:04 pm
Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)...
Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)
(Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah Jazz will open their three-game road trip against the Houston Rockets tonight.

The game marks the beginning of a seven-games in seven cities stint as the team bookends a home matchup against the Sacramento Kings with three-game stops on the road.

After facing the Rockets, the Jazz will travel to face the red hot Chicago Bulls on Saturday night before traveling to Milwaukee to face the Bucks on Sunday.

Jazz Look To Stay Undefeated

The Jazz are one of just three teams that are undefeated through the first week of the NBA season. Along with the Bulls and the Golden State Warriors, the Jazz have a blemish-free schedule through three games but will face a significantly tougher stretch of games when they head to Chicago.

That does up the likelihood however that the Rockets could serve as a trap game for the Jazz as they look to the more prominent game against two of the top teams in the East.

To date, it’s been difficult to gauge the quality of the Jazz three wins after knocking off the Oklahoma City Thunder in Utah, winning on the road against the Kings in Sacramento, before knocking off the Denver Nuggets once again in Salt Lake City.

The Thunder were winless prior to Wednesday night’s win over the Los Angeles Lakers, while the Kings have had an up and down start to the year. Sacramento has suffered losses to the undefeated Jazz and Warriors this season but has strong wins on the road in Portland and Phoenix.

Denver was set to be the Jazz toughest opponent early in the season but was forced to play the second half of Tuesday night’s game without the services of MVP Nikola Jokic after suffering a knee injury late in the second quarter.

As a result, the Jazz cruised to an easy 122-110 win but didn’t see Denver at full strength.

Young Rockets Struggling Early

While the Jazz are looking to stay undefeated on the season, the Rockets are looking for their second win of the season in their fifth outing.

Houston’s lone victory of the season came in blowout fashion over the lowly Thunder in game two, but haven’t had another game decided by fewer than double-digits so far this season.

Veteran forward Christian Wood is off to a hot start as he leads the Rockets with a 20.8 points per game scoring average. The versatile big man is shooting 47 percent from the floor and 45 percent from three as the team’s only true go-to scoring option.

Jalen Green, who was the second overall pick in the 2021 NBA draft, is averaging 14.5 points per game, good for third-best on the Rockets behind Wood and Eric Gordon.

The Rockets are one of the least experienced teams in the league with seven players on the roster having played just one year or fewer in the NBA.

Can Jazz Butler Find The Floor Vs Rockets?

With a tougher slate of games on the horizon, Thursday night’s matchup against the Rockets may be the best opportunity for rookie Jared Butler to see real minutes for the Jazz.

After a brilliant preseason in which Butler led the Jazz in scoring at 18 points per game and assists at 4.3 per game, the guard has struggled during the regular season.

The guard is 0-6 from the floor in three appearances with the Jazz so far this season and has just one assist and one rebound in 13 total minutes. Butler showed terrific poise during the preseason’s exhibition games but hasn’t found the rhythm of the Jazz offense during his short regular season appearances.

Against a younger Rockets roster, Butler could be prime for another opportunity on the floor before heading to Chicago and Milwaukee.

Broadcast

The Jazz and Rockets will tip-off at 6 pm MT with the radio broadcast on KSL News Radio 102.7 FM, and The Zone Sports Network 97.5 FM and 1280 AM. The game will be televised on AT&T Sports Net.

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