The Jazz have yet to beat Houston this season, losing to the Rockets once at home and again on the road. At Houston, the Jazz were competitive until the end, but succumbed late in the fourth quarter, in Rudy Gobert's return from his knee injury.
"It's definitely important to us, " Utah coach Quin Snyder said. "We talk a lot about protecting home court, and this is a chance for us to do that."
On Tuesday morning in shootaround, Jazz players spoke of the opportunity that lies ahead. More and more, it looks like Portland is a lock to make the playoffs. Heading into tonight's matchup against the Brooklyn Nets, the Blazers had won 14 of their past 17 games and look to be peaking at the right time.
If that's true, the fight for eighth may come down to Utah and Portland. The Jazz want to make the postseason, for the experience it would afford what is a young team.
"We know what's at stake, " Utah power forward Derrick Favors said. "So we have to come out and play well."