Monday, February 28, 2005

Jazz Find Rhythm in Houston

Thanks to a big fourth quarter from Raja Bell, Mehmet Okur, and Matt Harpring, the Utah Jazz surged past the Houston Rockets for a 99-92 victory in Houston Sunday afternoon.

The Jazz have had trouble in the 4th quarter of games. Coming into the Houston game, Utah was 6-21 on the road. Starting the 4th quarter with a tie score seemed to be pointing the direction of many games this year. Good effort, but not good enough to win. Instead of wilting, Memo scored 9 points in the 4th Quarter, Bell 7, and Harpring 8 as the Jazz seemed to either make every shot or get an offensive rebound on each miss in the fourth quarter. There were a couple of 'you had to see it' type shots in the fourth quarter as well. One was a reverse by Kirilenko, when he got caught under the backboard he reached his long arm out and quickly flipped it back into the basket. He made it look almost effortless, but the truth is there aren't many guys in the league who could have done it. Moments later, Mehmet Okur drove the baseline and was fouled hard, but with a showing of great strength, flipped it over his head with his left hand and into the basket. The Jazz took advantage of a couple of bounces and combined that with beating the Rockets in the effort and energy departments of rebounding and defense.

For the Rockets, McGrady was terrific in the first quarter, but didn't have as much pep over the final three quarters. The new guy Mike James played hard till then end and scored 19 points, making just enough 3-pointers in the 4th quarter to keep the Rockets within shouting distance. Perhaps I miss something, but I just don't understand why a 7'6" player like Yao Ming only gets 10 shot attempts against the Jazz who don't have a player over 6'11". Is Yao not aggressive enough in demanding the ball or getting position? Or is it, what appears to be a team that overall has questionable shot selection and doesn't appear to be running an offense most of the time? I know that normal point guard Bob Sura was out with an injury, so perhaps that was the problem in lack of offensive sets and touches for Yao. Lets hope so.

On this Day in the NBA- Houston Style: Feb 28, 1981 Calvin Murphy set the record for most consecutive made free throws with 78 (against San Diego). This record was later broken by Michael Williams of Minnesota and pushed all the way to 97 (in 1993). Murph still holds the record for highest FT percentage for a season at .958 (1980-81 season).

There is also a great write-up of this game in the Houston Chronicle (click the link), that includes sharp comments by McGrady, Jon Barry, and Van Gundy. Also, in keeping with the trend of looking for the best blogs for the opponent, I point you to the Houston Rockets Fan Blog.

9 comments:

Nels said...

Yao is not aggressive enough. That's why McGrady is the #1 option on the team.

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