ROCKETS LOOKING FOR 14TH STRAIGHT WIN AGAINST JAZZ

After the first 28 games of the 2017-18 NBA season, the Houston Rockets have the best record in the league with a 24-4 mark. The Rockets are currently riding a 13-game win streak that may just continue for a while longer. James Harden and company will host the Utah Jazz on Monday night looking to extend the streak to 14 straight.

 The Jazz come into the game a banged up team having lost both Rudy Gobert and Derrick Favors for most of their game on Friday  against the Celtics. Favors was expected back against the Cavaliers on Saturday but entered concussion protocol and was held out. It’s unclear if he will be cleared to play against the Rockets. Gobert is expected to be out for 3 to 4 weeks with a PCL strain in his knee.

 However, the Jazz cannot be overlooked. Even without Gobert and Favors for most of the Celtic game, the Jazz used their defense to steal a road win 107-95 over the Eastern Conferences best team. They also feature one of the NBA’s best rookies in guard Donovan Mitchell. The first-year player from Louisville is playing 30 minutes a game and averaging 18.1 points, 3.0 rebounds and 3.4 assists.

 But the Rockets seem to only be getting better. With the return of Chris Paul from an early season injury, they have all of their parts in place and are looking like it. One area of concern however is the knee pain that Harden is dealing with lately. The team is hoping that the bruise that is causing the problem will get better, and Harden is willing to play through it at this point.

 Rockets Head Coach Mike D’Antoni has his team playing the type of game he wants, uptempo, high scoring and a lot of 3-point shots. Houston currently trails only the Warriors in point per game averaging 115.1. The Rockets have made a total of 445 three pointers so far on the year, a whopping 75 more than the next team behind them, the Cavaliers with 370.

 The scary part for opponents, is that Paul is looking great and the concern that some people had about he and Harden playing together seems to be a non-issue. Barring injury, expect the Rockets to continue to win and make a deep run in the Western Conference playoffs.

 After the game against Utah, Houston welcomes the two Los Angeles teams, the Lakers and Clippers, before heading to Oklahoma City for a primetime matchup against the Thunder on Christmas Day.

 The Rockets are a 12 point favorite to beat the Jazz for their 14th straight victory on Monday. Expect them to keep rolling.

 Prediction: Rockets to win and cover.