This is what the good teams do — they beat bad teams.
It’s not as if the Houston Rockets don’t have talent or don’t have a bright future — look no further than Jalen Green and Kevin Porter Jr. — they’re just not at the level that the Utah Jazz are.
The Jazz beat the Rockets, 122-91, behind a game-high 19 points from Bojan Bogdanovic and six other Jazz players who scored in double figures.
“In this league there are a bunch of great teams,” Bogdanovic said. “They’re a young team, pretty talented. Obviously we were the better team, but we have to show that every other night.”
Even when the Jazz are facing the lesser rosters in the league, the ones that don’t have as much experience or the ones that are still building toward contention, they have to give the effort of a team that is capable of being the top seed in the Western Conference, because this whole thing is about racking up enough wins to ensure a playoff spot.
That means not dropping games to bad teams unnecessarily and winning on the road, which is exactly what the Jazz did Thursday night. And, if the Jazz do it right, they can put the games against the bad teams away early and give their heavy usage players a little bit of rest.
“We’re an older team and any time we get a chance to rest guys at the end of a game, coach would want that most times,” Joe Ingles said after the win in Houston.
Ingles was a part of the group that broke the game open in the first half, hitting with ease from deep. Despite Houston coach Stephen Silas saying that closing out on shooters would be an emphasis, the young Rockets allowed the Jazz to attempt 46 3-pointers, most of which were fairly wide open.
None of the Jazz’s starters played in the final minutes of the blowout win, with Jazz coach Quin Snyder slowly emptying the bench throughout the fourth quarter, knowing that keeping his roster fresh will be critical in the coming days.
“I think it’s important, even psychologically too,” Snyder said. “We shouldn’t feel tired and I don’t think we are, but sometimes that’s mental as much as anything.”
The Jazz, the only remaining undefeated team in the NBA, now head to Chicago where they’ll face the Bulls on Saturday and then play in their first back-to-back game against the reigning champion Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday.
The hope is that the few minutes of rest gained on Thursday night will benefit them through the weekend battle ahead.