– Skip, how much trouble are the Rockets in?
– Is this kid something?
– He’s special.
– Woo! Shannon Sharpe, I have told you all year long, I trust these Houston Rockets almost as little as I trust those Toronto Raptors.
– Yeah. You’ve been saying it.
– Here we go.
– I’ve been telling you for about three months, Utah is becoming a force to be reckoned with in the postseason, even now without its quarterback, who you don’t have a lot of respect for, Ricky Rubio. But the problem now for the Houston Rockets is they have to go play in what I think is becoming the toughest building to play in in the league. Houston is officially in trouble. I am not going to be surprised if Utah wins both games at home.
And then we’ll see who is mentally tougher, because I think the Utah Jazz are much mentally tougher as an overall basketball team than James Harden, Chris Paul, Mike D’Antoni’s basketball team is. Those are the three I just don’t trust. And we saw it in full force last night.
The signature play of that game, as we just saw, maybe the signature play of the postseason, was that put-back slam. And it came with 6:11 left in the game. But it slammed the door on Houston’s rally.
– That ain’t the play of the playoffs, Skip. You know that. That old step-back. That old step-back!
– But this was a breath-taker. This was a, what. This is the kid, the rookie who just– he won the slam dunk contest for a reason. He’s 6 feet, 3 inches tall. And he euro steps through the lane. And he’s just like lah-dee-dah, I’ll just throw up a little floater. And then he says, you know what, I think I’m going to go up through the entire Houston front line. I’m going to go up over Capela and Ariza and PJ Tucker. And I think I’ll just posterize all three at once. Whammo, door shut.
What have I always said about the game of NBA basketball, not college basketball? NBA basketball is a game of superstars. LeBron is a superstar. He has been the beast of the East. When you have LeBron, especially in the “Leastern” Conference, you’re just going to win a whole bunch of games and playoff series.
All of a sudden, Utah has come from nowhere, because this kid came from the middle of the first round from nowhere from Louisville, lost in Rick Pitino’s system, ala “Scary” Terry Rozier. And he said, watch this, NBA.
All of a sudden, Utah has a Harden. Utah has a Westbrook. Utah, in game six at home against the Thunder, had a Westbrook, because what did Westbrook do in the third quarter of that game? He said watch this, solo will, my warrior will. I’m going to will us home to Oklahoma City for game seven.
– Two point-upped him.
– He said, no, Russ, not in my house, because this is now my house. And they say the strength of Utah’s team is its team. It is, because he’s become the leader of a team that lost Gordon Hayward, that lost Joe Johnson, that lost George Hill, obviously who wound up with your Cavaliers, and lost Rodney Hood who wound up with your Cavaliers.
– And Joe Johnson.
– I said Joe Johnson.
– Oh, yeah, OK.
– But the point is, you– nobody thought this was even get to be a playoff team, because nobody saw this kid coming. And all of a sudden, last night, you know, I’m thinking they’re not going to be able to get this home without Rubio. And I know, again, you don’t love Rubio. But he is their playmaker.
– He’s their– their constant. He gets them in the right places at the right time. He can settle down their offense when they’re under siege and under attack in Houston from that three point shooting Showtime show that is this group.
And what happened? Donovan Mitchell said, I’ll play point guard. And what happened statistically? He set the Utah Jazz franchise record for rookie assists in a playoff game, beating John Stockton’s record. What? He had 11 assists since last night as the point guard.
And what happened to James Harden? Donovan Mitchell happened to him in the second half, because Donovan Mitchell kept saying, let me take him. He and Exum sort of traded off taking him. But Donovan– they got physical with James Harden, now. Jae Crowder get a little physical with– after one whistle with James Harden.
They were saying, we’re going to play a little football here. We’re going to see just how physically tough you are. And Donovan Mitchell forced him into one three point airball, because he was all over him, not taking his little whip cream fakes that everybody else takes. And he didn’t get as quite– he shot a bunch of free throws.
But the point is, Donovan Mitchell said, I’m going to do whatever it takes to get us home. And he didn’t shoot the ball well at all. He shot six for 21. But you tell me, is Joe Ingles going to make seven threes in game three? Probably not.
– But is Donovan Mitchell going to go home and shoot six for 21? I’ll bet you he does not. So I’m going to say Houston is in trouble.
Source: Fox Sports