In a rematch from last year's postseason, the Jazz will meet the Rockets looking to avenge a 4-1 series loss in the Western Conference semifinals.
The upsets were good news for the league since many fans and media members feel the National Basketball Association playoffs are too predictable largely due to the seven game series that favors the top seeded teams.
Rubio missed the final three games of the regular season as he nursed a quad injury, and there are thoughts he could miss extended time in this series.
Moving on to Game 2, it's unclear if Jazz coach Quin Snyder will continue to stay with this strategy and just gamble on the Rockets missing their outside shots. Jokic did finish with a triple-double, tallying 14 rebounds and 14 assists, but only notched 10 points on 4 of 9 shooting. Fourth-seeded Houston opens against a familiar and stubborn foe in the No. 5-seed Utah Jazz, who gave them fits in the playoffs last season.
The Rockets held the Jazz to 39 percent shooting from the floor (7-of-27 from 3-point range) and forced 18 turnovers in the rout. The Utah Jazz are shooting 25.9 percent from beyond the arc and 85.2 percent from the free throw line. Houston is a 6.5-point favorite and the over-under for total points scored is 212.5 in the latest Jazz vs. Rockets odds, down sharply from an open of 219. The Houston Rockets have won each of their last eight home games.
The Rockets had a double-digit lead for most of the game, but the Jazz got within five points midway through the third quarter before Houston used a big run to pull away and sail to the victory.
However, Houston learned the hard way last season about taking the Jazz for granted.
The Jazz repeatedly made poor decisions under duress or had to settle for low-percentage shots in Game 1.
We learned how some of these individual matchups will play out as the series goes along, but it's important to avoid ovrreacting to what we saw in Game One. Their last lead came with four minutes left in the first quarter but they trimmed a 12-point deficit to one in the closing minutes.
Game 2 is Tuesday night in Denver, where the second-seeded Nuggets failed to parlay the NBA's best home-court record (34-7) into a win against the seventh-seeded but much more seasoned Spurs. I think the Rockets and Harden will score at a pace that the Jazz just can't sustain, especially down the stretch.