Monday , Apr , 23 , 2007 C.Y. Ellis

Rockets try to take 2-0 lead over Jazz

(Sports Network) – The Houston Rockets try to jump out to a 2-0 lead over the
Utah Jazz, as the teams meet tonight at the Toyota Center for Game 2 of their
first-round matchup.

This is a best-of-seven series. Game 3 is scheduled for Thursday at
EnergySolutions Arena.

In Game 1, Yao Ming poured in 28 points and grabbed 13 rebounds to lead the
Rockets past the Jazz, 84-75, in the opener of the Western Conference
quarterfinals on Saturday at the Toyota Center.

Tracy McGrady, who was held without a field goal in the first half, added 23
points and dished out seven assists for the Rockets, while Rafer Alston
finished with nine points, 11 rebounds and eight assists in the victory for
Houston.

Deron Williams netted 15, pulled down nine boards and dished out nine assists
for the Jazz, while Derek Fisher contributed 15 points in the loss, while Matt
Harpring had 14 points and eight boards off the bench.

Houston has lost five of its last six Game 2s in the postseason, while the
Jazz, who have dropped four in a row on the road in the playoffs, have won two
of their last three Game 2s.

The Jazz captured the Northwest Division and are the fourth seed in the
West, while Houston is No. 5 and finished in third place in the Southwest
Division. The Rockets own home-court advantage in the series since they had a
better regular-season record than Utah.

There is plenty of playoff history between the Jazz and Rockets. This is the
sixth time in the postseason that the teams will square off.

Houston defeated Utah in the first round of the postseason in 1995 and in the
1994 West finals. The Jazz knocked out the Rockets in the opening round of
1985 and 1998 and in the 1997 conference finals.

Utah ended a three-year playoff drought by qualifying for this year’s
postseason. The Jazz last appeared in the playoffs in 2003, when they were
eliminated in five games by the Sacramento Kings in the opening round.

The Jazz have not advanced past the first round since 2000. The last time Utah
was victorious in a playoff series was in 2000, when it eliminated Seattle,
3-2, in the first round.

Houston has not won a playoff series since 1997. The Rockets last postseason
series victory was when they defeated Seattle, 4-3, in the 1997 West semis.

During the regular season, the Jazz won three of their four meetings with
Houston. Utah won a pair at home, and split two contests with the Rockets at
the Toyota Center.

HOU UTA