EMPTYING THE NOGGIN – Rockets leave no doubt

SUMMARY: The red hot Houston Rockets showed every bit of why they have won 8 in a row and dismantled the Jazz in the 2nd half on their waty to 112-101 win that wasn’t that close.
• The Jazz started the night terribly with Rudy Gobert mishandling three straight possessions that lead to the Rockets taking a 6-0 lead and a timeout from Quin Snyder. From that point on the Jazz played the Rockets even and trailed by 5 at the half.

• The third quarter the Jazz got blitzed. Ryan Anderson couldn’t miss from three. James Harden who had scored the last 8 points in the 1st half kept rolling in the 2nd half and before the half had even got going the game was gone. The Rockets are now 16-1 when they lead at the half.

• The Rockets started the night with Trevor Ariza on Donovan Mitchell. It is clear that the best defender is going to guard Donovan every night. The lack of Rodney Hood and Joe Johnson is obvious when Mitchell is off the floor or they opponent digs into Mitchell.

• Rudy Gobert has not been able to impact games at his highest level since returning from the injury.

• The Jazz are starting Derrick Favors and Rudy Gobert because they both deserve to start, but not for the well being of the offense or right now team success. Tonight when they were on the floor together the Jazz got outscored 27-10. This is a really tough situation for the Jazz and Quin Snyder. They are trying to sneak through the opening moments of the game and then get to the most effective lineups this year and it is not working the last three games.

• Donovan Mitchell started slowly, but by the end of the night had 26 points on 9 of 19 shooting and 2 of 6 from three. He is averaging 26 points a game the last 5 games. There are a lot of garbage time points in this total with the game a blowout so quickly into the 2nd half, but give Donovan credit for continuing to compete.

• Joe Ingles had a great start to the game. He was straight ballin

• Derrick Favors finished with 28 minutes and 2 of 4 shooting with 5 points and 5 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steak and 2 blocks . Rudy Gobert played 28 minutes as well and had 6 points, 9 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, 2 blocks and 5 turnovers. Jazz need better production out of these two players. Both are much better than this level of production.

• Thabo Sefolosha was a plus 12 tonight and had 14 points and 5 rebounds.

• The Rockets followed the script they have been playing with all season. They won their 8 straight and their 14 of 15. They have won the 8 straight by an average of about 20 points and the 14 of 15 by an average of about 17 points. They have lead by 10 or more for 38% of their minutes played coming into the game tonight. They never lead by 10 in the first half tonight but did for almost the entire 2nd half. They have lead by 10 or more in over 50% of their 2nd half minutes and by 20 or more in 25% of those minutes.

• The Rockets are great. They are going to make a real run at the #1 seed and the Warriors should be worried.