Utah attempts to knot series with Rockets
(Sports Network) – The Utah Jazz try to knot their first-round series with
the Houston Rockets at two games apiece, as the teams battle tonight at
Utah bounced back in Game 3 after dropping the first two contests of the best-
of-seven series at the Toyota Center. On Thursday, Carlos Boozer poured in 22
points and pulled down 12 rebounds to lead the Jazz to a 81-67 victory over
the Rockets at EnergySolutions Arena.
Deron Williams finished witg 11 points, seven rebounds and eight assists for
the Jazz, while Matt Harpring came off the bench to score 13 points and grab
seven boards for Utah, which won its first playoff game since April 26, 2003.
Yao Ming ended with 26 points and 14 rebounds for the Rockets, whose reserves
were outscored 33-0 in Game 3. Tracy McGrady contributed 24 points on 9-of-23
from the field for Houston, which scored just 25 points in the second half.
Shane Battier had 11 points and five rebounds, while Rafer Alston netted six,
accounting for the rest of Houston’s points in defeat.
Game 5 of this series is scheduled for Monday at the Toyota Center.
Houston has lost four straight Game 4s in the postseason, while the
Jazz have dropped three straight Game 4s.
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.