Thursday , May , 03 , 2007 Oly Sandor

Utah Push Tracy McGrady, Yao Ming, & The Houston Rockets To A Seventh Game

The Utah Jazz have pushed the Houston Rockets to a seventh game … Utah got a balanced attack with Boozer, Okur, and Williams producing … But AK-47also got off on Thursday night … T-Mac and Yao got there’s , but where was Houston’s supporting cast? … Click here for your analysis and so much more …

What Happened: The and Houston Rockets need a seventh game to determine a winner.

The Jazz extended their opening round playoff series by beating the Rockets 94-82 on Thursday, forcing a deciding game back in Houston.

led a balanced attack for Utah, scoring 22 points and pulling in 9 rebounds. had 15 points to go with eight assists.

The Jazz finally got strong games from struggling forwards and . Kirilenko stuffed the boxscore, tallying 14 points, five rebounds, four assists, three steals, and five blocks. Okur went 4-for-7 from the three-point line, ending up with 19 points and 9 rebounds.

led the Rockets with 26 points and 10 rebounds, while chipped in with 25 points and 6 rebounds. But Ming struggled with the Jazz’s interior defense, turning the ball over 8 times.

Game 7 is Saturday night in Houston. The home team has won every game in this series.

Reaction of Utah forward Andrei Kirilenko
on the win:
"We kept it alive. I think it’s a great performance by everybody. We had a game we had to win or we were going home. That’s hard to play with this kind of intensity on both ends of the court, but we had to win." (ESPN)

Reaction of Houston guard Tracy McGrady
on the loss:
“It was right there for us, man. Down to one point. We put ourselves in great position to pull this game out, but things went the other direction." (ESPN)

Reaction of Houston Coach Jeff Van Gundy on the loss:
“They outplayed us down the stretch. We’ve just got to get on the plane and figure out a way to play a little bit better.” (CNNSI)

My Take: Utah’s tough when Kirilenko and Okur are producing. They suddenly have much more balance on offense. AK-47 gives them another scorer, while Okur pulls Yao from the basket with his three-point range.

 Kirilenko’s defense is directly linked to his offense. On Thursday, he built his confidence by hitting a few early shots and then settled in to play great defense on McGrady, blocking T-Mac’s path to the basket.

Houston’s heading home, but their supporting cast must step-up to win game seven. Shane Battier, also known as Horace Grant reincarnated, must score more than four points.

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