We have the second match-up in the Western Conference Semifinals. The winner of the Golden State-New Orleans series will meet the winner of this one to advance to Conference Finals. Houston finished off the Minnesota Timberwolves in five games in their first-round series. Coming into the playoffs, Houston had the best record in the regular season and James Harden should win the MVP. Can they advance against the feisty Utah Jazz? Many people, including myself had Oklahoma City advancing past the Utah Jazz. Donovan Mitchell and Ricky Rubio lead the Jazz with tremendous games. I’m still amazed by the season Utah put together after losing Gordon Heyward via free agency. Donovan Mitchell continued his amazing rookie season by putting together an amazing series against a great Thunder team. Can they continue their winning trend and upset the Houston Rockets?
Houston comes into this series relatively healthy and will be heavily favored. While James Harden gets all the headlines, Chris Paul was probably the MVP of the series. You could make the argument for Clint Capela also with the job he did on Karl Anthony-Towns. In this series against Utah, Houston will have their hand full with Donovan Mitchell. Will the Houston Rockets advance to the Western Conference Finals as expected? Utah comes into this series with bad news and it’s about Ricky Rubio. Rubio injured his hamstring in the last game and he could miss 10 games. Rudy Gorbet will have a tough time this series against Clint Capela. The Jazz will have to play their basketball to compete against the Rockets. With Rubio out an extended time, can the Utah Jazz come away with the major upset?
In this series, Houston will try to throw several different guys against Mitchell. With the absence of Rubio, Utah will need help from their role players. Derrick Favors will have to come up huge in this series, but will it be enough? I’m picking Houston to win and advance to the Western Conference Finals.
Houston Wins Series 4-1
Are you excited about the Houston/Utah series? Will the injury to Ricky Rubio make a huge difference in the series? Can Donovan Mitchell continue his amazing season against the Rockets? How do you see this series playing out? Leave a comment below.