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Ricky Rubio and Raul Neto probable, Kyle Korver questionable vs. Rockets

Kyle Korver, Raul Neto, Ricky Rubio

The Utah Jazz, thankfully, are poised to be close to full strength for their first-round series against the Houston Rockets. According to Eric Walden of The Salt Lake Tribune, point guards Ricky Rubio and Raul Neto are probable for Game 1, while wing Kyle Korver is listed as questionable.

Rubio, Utah’s starting point guard, missed the last three games of the regular season after suffering a left quad contusion against the Sacramento Kings on April 5th. He averaged 12.7 points, 3.6 rebounds, and 6.1 assists per game this season, shooting just 31.1 percent from beyond the arc after hitting threes at a career-high clip last season. Rubio missed the Jazz’s second-round matchup with the Rockets last year, a loss that drastically affected the team’s strategy on both sides of the floor. He will have his hands full defensively this time around, figuring to spend every moment he’s on the floor guarding either James Harden or Chris Paul.

Neto’s role is likely to be reduced in the playoffs despite the absence of guard Dante Exum, Utah’s preferred backup to Rubio. Still, his health looms large considering Rubio has been beset by multiple leg injuries over the last few weeks. The fourth-year pro missed the last four games of the regular season, recovering from an ankle injury.

Korver, meanwhile, is still suffering the ill-effects of knee soreness that first surfaced in late March. The sharpshooter hasn’t played since March 29th. Though integral to Utah’s second-half rise and a proven playoff performer, Korver nevertheless looms as an imminently exploitable defender against the Rockets — and even more so if he’s a step slower than normal.

Game 1 is at 9:30 p.m. EST on Sunday.