Aggressive Rockets gain 2-0 lead on Jazz
Houston, TX (Sports Network) – Deron Williams was knocked to the ground, and
Utah was knocked down in Houston again as the Rockets used their advantage
inside — 27 points and nine boards from Yao Ming — and received a 31-point
performance from Tracy McGrady in a 98-90 victory over the Jazz.
The Western Conference quarterfinal series now shifts to Salt Lake City on
Thursday. Houston travels with a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series as Utah
attempts to find another scoring option to complement Carlos Boozer. The
forward scored 13 of his team’s first 15 points, matching his career high with
41 points and 12 rebounds.
If the second option is Williams, he will need to quickly shake the cobwebs
from a full-speed collision with Shane Battier at the 5:24 mark of the fourth.
He was on the floor for several minutes before leaving with assistance from
team personnel and returning several minutes later. Battier was whistled for
the foul, but Houston continued to win the war.
The Rockets were the aggressors for the second straight game, illustrated by a
large discrepancy at the charity stripe in the third stanza. Houston made 13-
of-14 in the period, while Utah didn’t attempt a free throw.
Houston also received strong performances once again from its stars. McGrady
totaled 23 points and Yao poured in 28 during the 84-75 victory in Game 1 on
The pivotal stretch came with the game tied at 62-62 in the latter stages of
the third quarter. The Rockets rattled off seven straight points, triggered by
a McGrady three and capped by Yao’s two free throws.
Rafer Alston’s jumper with 9:19 to play staked Houston to a 76-64 lead, and
Utah drew within four points on two occasions late in the game — the last at
84-80 on Gordan Giricek’s jumper with 3:28 remaining. The Rockets answered
with six points in a row to seal the victory.