The Houston Rockets entered the 2013-14 NBA season as one of the potential favorites in the Western Conference and backed up that perception with some impressive outings early on. Meanwhile, the Utah Jazz entered this season with little-to-no expectations and their early season play seemed to show that they were one of the worst teams in the league.
Those perceptions didn’t matter on Monday night, though, as the two teams faced off. The Jazz jumped out to a big lead early on, but the Rockets fought back to make it a close one. However, Utah kept coming with a solid display of offense and ended up pulling out the 109-103 victory, which was only the Jazz’s fourth win of the season.
The Rockets have shown an improved defense this season, but have also shown that they are still liable to have breakdowns, particularly on the perimeter, on that end of the floor. With Chandler Parsons out on Monday night, the Jazz took full advantage of a poor perimeter defense from the Rockets in their win.
While the team’s offense was clicking as a whole as they shot 54.4 percent from the field and 58.8 percent from three as a team, it was their backcourt that really exposed James Harden and company. Trey Burke, Gordon Hayward and Alec Burks combined for 71 points, 13 assists and 11 rebounds on the night while shooting 28-47 from the floor and 6-10 from three. That’s great productions.
Parsons missed this game with back spasms, so this likely won’t be the regular look that Houston has on the perimeter, but it also shows one of their glaring weaknesses. When they get into the postseason, playing perimeter defense at this level is going to catch up to them. Even with a team like the Jazz, these are NBA-caliber players that can take advantage of weaknesses. Essentially, Harden and the Rockets backcourt have to make a concerted effort to tighten up their defense on a consistent basis.