1st Round Playoffs: Utah vs. Houston

Welcome to the fourth and final post of my series prediction picks. Here, I’ll break down each of the matchups we see in the First Round of the NBA Playoffs for just the Western Conference. The Hornets aren’t in, so I’ll be rooting for Dallas.

Utah Jazz v. Houston Rockets

Utah was one of the biggest surprises to start the year; after missing the playoffs while going neck and neck with the Hornets down the stretch last year, they started off hot, coasted for a while, and held on to the #5 seed in the conference (Houston passed them at the very end). The loss of home court advantage could prove costly to the Jazz. While nobody on the Rockets can guard the red-hot C. Boozer, the same can be said of both T. McGrady and Y. Ming who have proved to be a lethal combination. Utah has the advantage as far as point guard goes, but with McGrady being the terrific playmaker he is, Houston can count on not seeing too much stagnation in half-court sets. The same can’t be said with certainty about Utah, whose own PG D. Williams took great strides forward this year, but definitely can’t take over a game by himself.



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