Houston Rockets vs. Utah Jazz - 4/17/19 NBA - Playoffs Pick, Odds, and Prediction

Spurs stun Nuggets in Game 1, take series lead

Facing the fifth-seeded Utah Jazz in a rematch of last year's Conference Semifinals, the fourth-seeded Rockets took a 1-0 series lead with a comfortable 32-point win at home.

The upsets were good news for the league since many fans and media members feel the National Basketball Association playoffs are too predictable largely due to the seven game series that favors the top seeded teams.

Ricky Rubio started after missing four of the last five games of the regular season with a quadriceps injury. If he does, that would force coach Quin Snyder to roll Donovan Mitchell over to point guard. Jokic did finish with a triple-double, tallying 14 rebounds and 14 assists, but only notched 10 points on 4 of 9 shooting.

It's the second consecutive year the teams have met in the post-season after the Rockets eliminated Utah in five games in the second round last season.

In a clip making the rounds on the internet, the Spaniard picked up the reigning Most Valuable Player as he crossed the halfcourt line, sticks to his hip and eventually his back, and rapidly shuffles his feet in a comically blatant attempt to funnel Harden towards the middle against two Jazz defenders (anchored by Rudy Gobert).

The Rockets are putting up 113.9 points per game on offense while shooting 44.9 percent from the field and 35.6 percent from the arc. Both clubs come into the NBA Playoffs 2019 with momentum, as Houston won 11 of its last 14, while Utah finished with a 13-3 mark in its final 16 regular-season contests. The Jazz haven't changed how they want to do things defensively and will encourage the Rockets to take those shots. The Rockets' aggressive defense had snuffed out every action the Jazz attempted on the possession. The Jazz are 3-1-1 ATS in the last 5 meetings in Houston and 3-2-1 ATS in the last 6 meetings. It was the kind of dominant defensive performance that gives the Rockets, a historically elite offensive team, confidence that they are legitimate title contenders.

The Jazz remained steadily behind as all five of Houston's starters scored in double-digits with two players notching double-doubles.

Here are the biggest takeaways from Game 1 of this series.

"It doesn't surprise me that we can defend", Rockets coach Mike D'Antoni said.

According to oddsmakers, the Rockets are favored at home in this game, as they are getting odds of -6 points against the Jazz.

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