James Harden arrived in Salt Lake City Tuesday night in preparation for the Houston Rockets’ Thursday night matchup against the Utah Jazz. Though it’s only early December, winter is in full swing in SLC and temperatures are reaching as low as the early 20s at night.
Apparently this was a bit of a shock for Harden as he arrived from balmy Houston, Texas, because he immediately tweeted about it:
“Maaaan. It’s freeezing in Salt Lake City. This can’t be normal,” he wrote.
It is. Winter temperatures are often frigid in Salt Lake, one of the winter capitals of the world and host of the 2002 Winter Olympics. It’s lucky for Harden that he plays an indoor sport.
The Rockets Play the Utah Jazz on Thursday Night
Harden and the Rockets are in Salt Lake City for a few nights before their eventual matchup against the Utah Jazz on Thursday night. They’re 11-12 and still sit just above the Jazz in the Western Conference rankings (the Jazz have an 11-13 record). Neither team expected to be doing so poorly this far into the season, if at all, and both need to get every win that they can as the season approaches its midpoint.
The Rockets have only won two of their last seven games, and the Jazz had a devastating loss in Miami on Sunday that left them demoralized in addition to their overall struggles.
When they face off on Thursday on TNT, the Jazz will be looking to continue to improve their defense and finish out the fourth quarter. Sunday’s game was a promising step, as all five starters reached double figures: Ricky Rubio led with 23, Jae Crowder had 19, and Donovan Mitchell pitched in 18. Ingles and Gobert contributed 11 and 12, respectively, as well, though the team failed to pull out the win in the final seconds after some controversial calls.
The Jazz at times seem jumbled on defense and will need to iron out the kinks if they want to shut down James Harden and Clint Capela, who had 29 and 24 points, respectively, on Monday against the Timberwolves.
Chris Paul struggled in that game and only scored 5 points in his 36 minutes–an anomaly, though, as he’s averaging 16.6 per game on the season.