Monday , Apr , 30 , 2007 Oly Sandor

Tracy McGrady and Yao Ming Win Game Five

The Houston Rockets have won the all-important game five in their series against the Utah Jazz. T-Mac was scoring and facilitating. Yao had a double-double. And Houston’s supporting cast stepped-up. Click here for a recap, analysis, and discussion on the importance of having an end-of-game closer….

What Happened: Home court sure is sweet for the . After losing two consecutive road games, the Rockets returned home to Houston for game five and beat the Utah Jazz 96-92.

and , the Rockets’ All Star duo, had strong games. McGrady scored 26 points and had an eye-popping 16 assists, while Yao chipped in with 21 points and 15 rebounds.

In game five, Houston got some scoring from their role players. Shane Battier had 15 points. Rafer Alston scored 14 points. And Juwan Howard had 12 points.

In game three, McGrady and Ming combined to score 50 of Houston’s 67 points. Only two other Rockets scored. The rest were held pointless.  This lack of offense had also been a problem during the regular season for the Rockets.

led Utah with 26 points and eight rebounds. had 17 points, but was called for charging with seconds left in the fourth quarter.

Houston leads the series 3-2. Game six is Thursday in Utah.

Reaction of Houston guard Tracy McGrady
on drawing double-teams from opposing defenses:
"It’s up to me to make my teammates better and to get them the open shots. If I penetrate and be aggressive and guys collapse on me, then those guys got to be confident enough to knock down shots on the perimeter." (ESPN)

 Reaction of Utah forward Carlos Boozer on Thursday’s game six:
"We’ll be ready to go on Thursday. Make no make no mistake about that. That fourth quarter they just executed a little bit better. We missed a few shots and they won the game." (CNNSI)

My Take: This was a great game. Both teams played well. But the Rockets won because their end-of-game closer, Tracy McGrady, is a superstar who makes plays. And the Jazz lost because their end-of-game closer, Derek Fisher, is a role player who can’t create his own shot.

In other words, Houston has a closer. Utah, no disrespect to Fisher, does not. This was the difference in the game. And this could very well be the difference in the series.

 Click here to read more of Oly Sandor’s NBA blog.