Kristin Murphy, Deseret News
Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell (45) dribbles past Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) during a basketball game at the Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City on Monday, Feb. 26, 2018. Jazz lost 85-96.

If the regular-season series between the Utah Jazz and Houston Rockets is any indication, their second-round playoff series will be tough sledding for Utah against the team that finished the regular season with the best record in the NBA by a six-game margin.

Here’s a look back at the four games the teams played against one another during the regular season, a series Houston swept.

Sunday, Nov. 5, 2017, Toyota Center, Houston: Rockets 137, Jazz 110

League MVP candidate James Harden torched the Jazz for a career-high 56 points, finishing a point shy of the Rockets franchise record for points in a game after he subbed out with 7:32 remaining and Houston up 27.

Playing without the injured Chris Paul, Houston scored 39 points in the first quarter and 48 in the third. Donovan Mitchell came off the bench to lead Utah with 17.

What can be learned?

Harden led the NBA in scoring during the regular season with an average of 30.4 points per game and the Rockets finished second in scoring as a team at 112.4 points, so Utah’s excellent defense is certainly going to be challenged.

Can the Jazz at least find a way to make life more difficult for Harden or limit Houston’s other players?

Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017, Vivint Arena, Salt Lake City: Rockets 112, Jazz 101

While the Jazz lost by just 11, they trailed by 22 after three quarters. They were actually down by just five at halftime before Houston outscored them 37-20 in the third.

This time Houston had more scoring balance, as Harden had 29 points, Ryan Anderson had 23 and Paul 18. Now starting, Mitchell had 26 for Utah.

What can be learned?

The Jazz were within striking distance before the Rockets exploded over the course of one quarter, which they actually did in each game against Utah during the season. Can the Jazz somehow limit these outbursts to keep themselves in games?

Monday, Dec. 18, 2017, Toyota Center, Houston: Rockets 120, Jazz 99

The Jazz managed to be up by five entering the fourth quarter before the Rockets outscored them 41-15 in the final frame to get the win. Eric Gordon scored 33 points for Houston, including 17 in the fourth. Rodney Hood led Utah with 26.

What can be learned?

The Rockets have so many players capable of scoring a bunch of points, but again, the Jazz need to find a way of limiting huge Houston runs. Part of that is scoring themselves, which Utah struggled to do down the stretch of this game.

Monday, Feb. 26, 2018, Vivint Arena, Salt Lake City: Rockets 96, Jazz 85

The Jazz and Rockets entered this game as the two hottest teams in the league, and this contest was the closest throughout the season series. Houston scored just 39 points in the first half before a strong third. Utah kept things close despite never scoring more than 23 points in a quarter.

Harden led all scorers with 26 points. Gobert led the Jazz with 17.

What can be learned?

The Rockets make it hard to play ugly, but the Jazz are good in that type of game. Overall, getting games into a more grind-it-out style is probably Utah’s best chance of competing throughout this series like they did in this game.