clint capela houston nbaThe Houston Rockets live and die by the three-point ball and this year this has worked perfectly for them as they’ve managed to win 65 games and secure the top-seed in the Western Conference.

With the second-ranked defense in the NBA and a towering center in Rudy Gobert, the Utah Jazz was supposed to hold the antidote to the Rockets’ high-powered second-ranked offense.

Things, however, didn’t turn out as expected for the Jazz, not only because the Rockets can slice defenses up with precision shots from long distance, but because they have a center in Clint Capela, that nullifies much of what Gobert excels at.

Capela is very quick sprinting down the court and Gobert struggles to keep up. The Rockets play at such a fast pace that Gobert is forced to play some perimeter defense, the problem is he often refuses to leave the paint and allows open shots from all over the perimeter to the Rockets sharpshooters.

As if the Rockets spread offense and three-point shooting weren’t enough of a problem for Gobert, he also needs to keep an eye on Capela’s aggressive play on the offensive front.

Since he will sprint the floor every time the Rockets go on the offensive, even without the ball in the hand, he can either wait for the offensive rebound or the layup from Harden or Chris Paul for an easy two.

Also, with their pistol action play, the Rockets create middle penetration and force Gobert to step up and block the driving player, thus Capela can wait underneath the rim and clean up the misses all day long.

The way the Rockets offense is designed they are prepared to lob to Capela every time and they rarely miss on these plays.

Ricky Rubio is a good defender that can rev up the Jazz’s offensive engine too, but he’s being held back by a hamstring injury that looks problematic, which leaves Utah’s coach Quinn Snyder with too few options to counter the Rockets’ might.

Thus, if Gobert can’t change the way he plays on the defensive end, the Jazz defense as a whole will suffer from his presence on the floor, hurting his team badly regardless of what he does on offense. If that holds true the Jazz’s hopes of advancing to the Western Conference Finals are already doomed.


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