Jazz need a win against Houston
(Sports Network) – The Utah Jazz are a desperate for a victory in their
first-round matchup against the Houston Rockets, as the teams meet for Game 3
tonight at EnergySolutions Arena.
Houston leads this best-of-seven series 2-0, as it captured Games 1 and 2 at
the Toyota Center. Yao Ming poured in 28 points and grabbed 13 rebounds to
lead the Rockets past the Jazz, 84-75, in the opener, while Tracy McGrady
netted 31 to lift Houston to a 98-90 victory in the second game of the set.
Yao is averaging 27.5 points and 11.0 rebounds against Utah, while McGrady has
registered 27.0 points, 7.0 boards and 6.0 assists in the opening round of the
Carlos Boozer has averaged 26.0 points and 12.0 rebounds in the first two
games of the series for the Jazz, whose last playoff victory was on April 26,
2003 against the Sacramento Kings. Point guard Deron Williams is averaging
15.0 points, 8.0 rebounds and 8.0 assists in his first postseason action.
Game 4 is scheduled for Saturday at EnergySolutions Arena.
Houston has won six of its last seven Game 3s in the postseason, while the
Jazz have lost seven of their last eight Game 3s.
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 that the teams are meeting in the postseason.
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.