Friday night — thanks to a massive second half from Donovan Mitchell, good ball movement that got other players good looks, and a suffocating defense — the Utah Jazz were able to get by without Ricky Rubio and beat the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Now the Jazz step way up in class to take on the Houston Rockets, and they are again going to have to do it without Rubio for at least a while. Officially, he is out for Game 1 on Sunday, the team announced.
It’s going to be more than one game. Other reports on how long Rubio will be out vary from a week to two, in part because hamstrings heal slowly and are easy to re-aggravate if not right when the player comes back.
Rubio tried to take it in stride.
Rubio had played well against the Thunder, providing a secondary shot creator after Mitchell (on a team that struggles in that area). Rubio averaged 16.8 points and 8.6 assists per game in the last series, although he wasn’t efficient (true shooting percentage of 47.7). Still, his playmaking and willingness to take the shot kept defenses honest.
Without him, it becomes that much more difficult to beat a championship-level Rockets team.