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Keys to Game 3 in Rockets vs. Jazz playoff series

Houston Rockets guard James Harden drives against Utah Jazz forward Royce O'Neale during the first half of Game 2 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series in Houston, Wednesday, April 17, 2019.
Houston Rockets guard James Harden drives against Utah Jazz forward Royce O'Neale during the first half of Game 2 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series in Houston, Wednesday, April 17, 2019. (Copyright 2019 The Associated Press)

HOUSTON – The Rockets have taken a 2-0 series lead over the Jazz after two blowout wins at the Toyota Center.

Now, they hit the road to play at one of the toughest environments in the NBA. The Rockets' plan is to take things one game at a time and focus on themselves.

“As long as we stay relentless both offensively and defensively and play hard every possession then I’ll take our chances,” Eric Gordon said.

Head coach Mike D’Antoni, who has echoed a similar mindset, said, “Let’s do what we do and then we’ll live with the consequences.”

It’s often said that a series hasn’t really started until a team loses on its home court.

Here are the keys to the Rockets getting this series started by beating the Jazz in Game 3 in Salt Lake City:

Better 3-point defense

The Jazz missed a ton of wide-open shots in Game 2 and the Rockets don’t expect that to happen again. They need to contest every shot, especially beyond the arc where the Jazz went 8 for 38. If the Jazz knock down their open shots, which they did not do in Game 2, they very well could take Game 3.

Role-players must continue to step up

No matter what adjustments the Jazz make in an attempt to slow down James Harden, if the Rockets continue to spread the wealth scoring, then the Jazz won’t stand a chance. P.J. Tucker and Gordon need to continue taking advantage of open 3s as they did in Games 1 and 2.

Limit turnovers

In Game 2, the Rockets had 18 turnovers and, consequently, gave up 27 points off those turnovers. That stat is unacceptable for a team that is chasing a championship. The Rockets know that this is an area in which they need to improve if they want to win in Utah.