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Rockets host Utah Jazz Wednesday night

Posted: October 24, 2018 -- 11:35 a.m.

Wednesday night, the Houston Rockets will face the Utah Jazz. Tip is set for 7 p.m. Both teams own a 1 and 2 record prior to tonight's match-up.

Tuesday morning, the Rockets spoke with the media before practice in preparation for Wednesday's game against Utah.

Rockets' guard Chris Paul will miss the game. Tonight's game will be the second game of Paul's two-game suspension due to the incident involving the Lakers' Rajon Rondo and Brandon Ingram.

"Chris Paul is getting cleaned up; so, he'll be out," joked Rockets Head Coach Mike D'Antoni.

In addition to Paul's missing the game, D'Antoni also said center Nene (strained right calf), backup big man Marquese Chriss (ankle) and starting forward James Ennis III (strained right hamstring) are expected to miss the game.

D'Antoni says the Rockets need to do a much better job on defense.

"We just have to do what we need to do. We've got to defend much better," D'Antoni said. "We're not putting the intensity that is needed; and, also, we're not connected, yet, as team. But, that's normal. I think you see that around the league.

"When you have newer guys in; and, we've got young guys it takes a while to get them to be able to understand what we're doing. Everybody connected. And, we're working through that. We've got to make progress. Hopefully, it will be tomorrow (versus Utah)."

With James Ennis out tonight, Michael Carter-Williams will start. MCW is excited for the opportunity to start.

"I'm excited. I know we've got a few guys down; so, we're going to need everybody to step up," Carter-Williams said. "I'm excited to go out there and start. Just play my part.

"Same mindset. Go out there and play my game," MCW continued. "Do the little things that help the team win. Try to get our team off to a pretty good defensive start."

The Jazz has lost two games in a row: a 124-123 loss to the Golden State Warriors and a 92-84 Monday night loss to the Memphis Grizzlies. Both games were in Utah.

In the one point loss to the Warriors, Utah made 19 of 46 three-point shots (41.3%); however, in the loss to the Grizzlies, the Jazz shot 8 for 32 (25.0%) from three.

James Harden says the Rockets need to do a good job contesting Utah's three-point shots.

"The Jazz has a lot of good three point shooters. Maybe it was an off night (Monday in 92-84 home loss to Memphis)," Harden said. "We're going to have do a really good job of contesting the three; running them off the line; and trying to force tough twos. Obviously, they have Rudy Gobert - a paint presence; and, they got really good offensive ball-handlers. We've got to do a really good job of containing the ball and closing out (on) the threes."

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