Sunday , Apr , 01 , 2007 C.Y. Ellis

Jazz rally past Rockets

Houston, TX (Sports Network) – Mehmet Okur posted 20 points and nine rebounds
to help the Utah Jazz fight back to drop the Houston Rockets, 86-83, in a
pivotal contest at the Toyota Center.

These teams are likely to lock horns in the first round over the playoffs, and
are fighting for home-court advantage in the series. With the victory,
Utah now holds a 1 1/2 game advantage over the Rockets for the fourth seed.

Carlos Boozer had 13 points and 10 boards while Deron Williams donated 12
points and 11 assists for Utah, which has won four of its last five.

“It was a big win. It was a great basketball game and the refs really let us
play,” Boozer said.

Yao Ming had an enormous night with 35 points and 16 rebounds and Tracy
McGrady finished with 20 points for the Rockets, who had a three-game winning
streak halted.

The Jazz fell behind by seven with 4:46 remaining after Juwan Howard hit a
layup to cap a 6-0 burst. The road team took over down the stretch, though, to
steal the win.

Utah climbed within two on a Boozer tip-in, then after a Yao jumper, ripped
off eight straight points to forge ahead. Boozer got things rolling with a
slam before Matt Harpring converted a three-point play to make it 82-81.
Boozer came up with a three-point play of his own moments later to push the
lead to four with 43 seconds remaining.

It took just six seconds for McGrady to score a layup and cut the deficit to
two, and the Rockets forced a stop on the other end to give themselves a
chance to tie or go ahead.

On the ensuing possession, Rafer Alston launched a three from the left wing
that was off the mark, and Okur secured the rebound. He made only 1-of-2 from
the line, though, giving Houston one last chance.

McGrady got the ball with an opportunity to tie, but his off-balance three-
pointer missed as time expired.

“They scored on our mistakes, and we cannot allow that to happen,” Yao said.
“We cannot let them shoot over our head, and we cannot let them score on our
defensive mistakes.”

The contest was close throughout, with Utah owning a 36-32 edge at the half
despite 20 points from Yao.

Houston outscored the Jazz 29-23 in the third quarter, however, to gain a
61-59 edge heading into the final stanza.

Game Notes

These two teams meet up again in the final game of the regular season for both
clubs…Utah snapped a six-game road losing streak…The Jazz are 19-18 on the
road this season.