Jazz try to force Game 7 against Houston
(Sports Network) – The Utah Jazz try to force a Game 7 against the Houston
Rockets, as the teams meet tonight at EnergySolutions Arena in Game 6 of their
Houston leads this best-of-seven series 3-2. If necessary, Game 7 is scheduled
for Saturday at the Toyota Center.
In Game 5, Tracy McGrady scored 26 points and Yao Ming netted 21 to lead the
fifth-seeded Rockets to a 96-92 victory over No. 4 Utah on Monday at the
Toyota Center. Yao also grabbed 15 boards and McGrady dished out a career-high
16 assists in the victory.
Shane Battier totaled 15 points and Rafer Alston scored 14 for Houston, which
outrebounded the Jazz 42-39 and shot 50 percent (12-for-24) from beyond the
Deron Williams was 10-of-14 from the floor for 25 points in the loss for Utah.
Carlos Boozer finished the game with 26 points and eight rebounds, while Derek
Fisher contributed 17 points.
The Rockets have lost three straight games when they have the chance to
eliminate their opponent from the postseason. Houston has lost two of its last
three Game 6s in the playoffs.
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.
Utah has lost four straight games when facing elimination. The Jazz have lost
three straight Game 6s.
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.
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.
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.