Fred Faour: 5 observations from Game 1 of the Rockets-Jazz playoff series
Five observations from the Rockets' 110-96 Game 1 win over the Utah Jazz in the second round of the NBA playoffs:
1) No slow start: The Rockets came out hot, and opened up a 34-21 first quarter lead and expanded it to 64-39 at the half. The Jazz figured to struggle early, coming off a tough turnaround from Friday night's series-clinching win over the Thunder and also adjusting to not having Ricky Rubio. The Rockets took advantage and gained control of the game early.
2) Capela continues to shine: Clint Capela was better than Karl-Anthony Towns in their matchup in the opening series. For one game, he outplayed Utah's Rudy Gobert as well. Capela was active with 16 points and 12 rebounds. Gobert did not get his first basket until the fourth quarter and had 11 points, mostly in garbage time, and 9 rebounds.
3) If there is a cause for concern...The Jazz picked up the defense in the third quarter and cut into the Rockets lead. Houston was coasting, but the Jazz turned it into the kind of game they want to play. They outscored the Rockets 29-22 in the third quarter and 28-24 in the fourth. They were never really a threat, but that is the kind of play they will seek moving forward, and the Rockets will need to adjust.
4) Depth perception: The Rockets bench was outplayed by the Jazz bench. It did not matter, because the Rockets got a big game out of James Harden (41 points), but Jae Crowder was strong for Utah with 21 points. Utah's bench outscored Houston's 40-13, but the good news was the return of Luc Mbah a Moute, who played 21 minutes for Houston. He will be a key piece moving forward.
3-mendous: The Rockets shot over 50 percent on 3-pointers, hitting 53.1 percent on 17 of 32 shooting. Harden led the way with 7 of 12.
Overall, a solid opening game, but expect a better effort from Utah in Game 2 with more rest.