Boozer helps Jazz beat Rockets to force a seventh gameMay 4, 2007 - 5:16 AM SALT LAKE CITY (Ticker) -- Carlos Boozer and the Utah Jazz get to play at least one more game.
Boozer scored 22 points and Mehmet Okur added 14 of his 19 in the second half as the Jazz tied their Western Conference first-round series against the Houston Rockets at 3-3 with a 94-82 victory in Game Six on Thursday.
Deron Williams had 15 points and eight assists and Andrei Kirilenko added 14 and five blocks for Utah, which plays Game Seven in Houston on Saturday. Each team has won three games on its home court.
"We had all the pressure on us, and we stepped up," Williams said.
"I was pleased with the effort that our guys put in to try and win the game," Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said. "I know we had our backs against the wall and I thought the club did a fine job."
Utah led the entire second half and took a 68-62 advantage into the final period, but two free throws by Tracy McGrady capped a 12-5 run by Houston that narrowed the deficit to 77-76 with 4:45 left. But that one-point margin was as close as the Rockets came.
"We couldn't get our stops, and when we did get a shot, we weren't able to convert," McGrady said. "It was right there, man, one point. "We put ourselves in a great position to pull this game out."
Kirilenko, who entered the series averaging just 3.0 points per game, scored on consecutive possessions, cutting under the basket for a layup and burying a 20-footer to ignite an 11-2 run.
"We felt we were in control of the game the whole game," Williams said. "They made their run, which we knew any good team is gonna do. But we were able to withstand it."
After Yao Ming missed a 10-foot fadeaway shot with 2:22 remaining, Mehmet Okur all but clinched it, burying his fourth three-pointer of the night with 2:08 left to open up a double-digit lead.
In that brief 11-2 stretch, Yao was called for both an offensive foul and a three-second violation as the Rockets' offense all but disappeared in the final five minutes of play.
"Everybody that played him did a really good job deflecting the ball, making him catch a little bit deeper," Boozer said. "I know he still put up great numbers, but if we can make it a little tougher on him, that helps us out a great deal."
Boozer, who shot 9-of-16 from the field and grabbed nine rebounds, scored seven points in the quarter.
The Jazz, who lost in the first round of their last three playoff appearances, received a big game from Okur, who had struggled in the previous five games.
Okur, a first-time All-Star this season, had just five points as Utah took a 46-43 lead into the half. The Turkish center came out more aggressive after the break and scored nine points in the third period. His 3-pointer with 5:37 left in the quarter provided a 65-54 lead.
The 6-11, 258-pound Okur, who connected on 5-of-11 shots, including 4-of-7 from 3-point range, had been averaging just 8.4 points and shooting 29 percent in the first five games of the series. He averaged 17.6 points in the regular season.
"I just keep shooting, and finally the shots seemed to fall for me. ... I didn't do anything different," Okur said. "My teammates did a great job creating open shots for me."
McGrady finished with 26 points and 10 rebounds and Yao scored 25 points but had more turnovers (eight) than rebounds (six). In three games at Utah's EnergySolutions Arena this series, Yao has turned over the ball a whopping 21 times, or seven per game.
Houston has not advanced to the Western Conference semifinals since 1997.
Rafer Alston scored 13 points for the Rockets, who shot 43 percent (29-of-67) but just 6-of-21 from the arc.
UTAH 94 FINAL
May 3 10:36 PM
UTAH 68 END, 3RD QTR
May 3 9:56 PM
UTAH 46 HALFTIME
May 3 9:08 PM
UTAH 20 END, 1ST QTR
May 3 8:33 PM
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