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Recap - Houston Rockets @ Utah Jazz

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Farmerfran_medium

That's a great feeling, isn't it?

While I think the Jazz would take the Rockets again in a 7-game series, I really don't want to see their ugly mugs again.

Destiny may override me on this one again. It just seems like they're on a collision course to meet up in the first round.

As much as I don't want to see them, it would be a fantastic series, wouldn't it? Artest is a worthy villain to replace the vitrol that McGrady received. I can never get enough of the Yao frustrated face. And the game threads with The Dream Shake would be epic.

The prospect of ousting Houston in the first round again and putting Rocket fans into a nosedive from which they could never pull up from has to appeal to the common Jazz fan.

Too bad Houston isn't in the Eastern Conference and we're meeting them year after year.

As for the game, both teams started out the game 2-456 from the floor. Houston had a better percentage from the arc in the first half, 43%, than they did overall, 35%.

The Jazz weren't much better. Because of their 41% putritude, the three pointers the Rockets made kept the game close.

After Houston made a run in the third to take the lead, the Jazz reponded with one of their own and never looked back. They controlled the fourth quarter by finally hitting a more Jazz-like 56% (9-16) and clamped down on D. Houston had their worst shooting quarter hitting on just 33% of their shots.

Their poor shooting came in large part to Mr. Artest. His 5-22 shooting (.227) was a feat to behold. I thought Ronnie B did a great job on him in addition to Crazy P missing some wide open jumpers. Anything that gives Yao less of a shot to make an impact is a plus.

Speaking of Yao, he was stuffed several times by Memo (4 blocks!) and once by Millsap, each more delicious than the first. He went 6-16 and 5 of those makes were face-up Js. He didn't have his normal low-post dominance. He missed all kinds of bunnies including airballing a one-footer. In addition, he only went to the line once. We're in your head Yao.

I have to give credit where credit is due. Though the sight of Steve Javie scares me, the officiating crew was good last night. There were a few missed calls on both sides, but they let the teams play all night and it lead to a highly-enjoyable and watchable game. The Jazz had only 17 fouls for the game. If you've been paying attention, you'll know that when the Jazz foul less than 21 times, they'll win almost 76% of the time.

The only concern of the night besides the FG% was getting out-rebounded by 10. I think 10 of those came on one possession by the Rockets where they missed 10 shots in a row and got an offensive rebound every time. Well, it was actually only 5 O-boards on that possession, but it felt like a lot more. I'm sure there could have been fouls called on both teams in that sequence, but the refs let them play.

Player Notes:

Ronnie B
Another great outing. He hasn't been shooting the J well lately, but he went 2-4 on his jumpers in this game and was the psychiatrist needed to counter the Crazy.

Deron Williams
Sub-par shooting night, but hit the dagger late (again) to put the game away with a little over a minute left. Also, what happened to his three-point touch? TDS stated that it had been down this year in a post and I rushed to basketball-reference to show that it was just because he was injured earlier. But nope. It's all but gone. Since the All-Star break, he is barely above 26%. Weird. I don't have an explanation for that one. I'll take the 11.6 assists a game in March though.

Carlos Boozer
Will he be 100% by the playoffs? I hope so.

Kyle Korver
If AK was the unsung hero of the first half of the season, then KK has been it for the second half. You can tell he's put a lot of work into his defense this year. He hasn't had his shot falling until recently, but he's stayed in the game for making hustle plays like he did last night when he chansed down a loose ball that went over the half-court line and unfortunately had his tap put the ball right in Scola's hands. He then got the foul for taking out Luis, but there wasn't any possession of the ball by Scola before that.

Memo
He didn't get to blow any smoke off of his fingers, but he plods along with 12 & 8.

Millsap
He's a hustler in every meaning of the word.

AK
He's had his minutes cut a little short, but it's because of KK's outstanding play more than anything AK is doing wrong.

2 1/2 games separate 2-7 in the West. The Jazz are 2 games back of SA for the 2 seed. Think that game @ SA isn't going to be the biggest of the season?

It's looking like we're going to be playing Houston, Denver, or NOLA in the first round if I had to guess right now and with the way the schedule shapes out over the last few weeks. I like our chances there.

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