for this game

Jazz poised to oust Rockets

May 2, 2008 - 1:29 PM Houston at Utah 10:30 pm EDT Western Conference first round Jazz lead, 3-2

SALT LAKE CITY (Ticker) - The Utah Jazz are poised to move on to the second round of the playoffs.

The fourth-seeded Jazz try to shake off a dismal Game Five performance and close out their Western Conference first-round series when they host the fifth-seeded Houston Rockets for Game Six on Friday.

Utah boasted the best home record in the NBA this season, posting a 37-4 record at EnergySolutions Arena, where Game Six will be staged on Friday.

However, the Rockets claimed the momentum and avoided elimination with a dominating 95-69 victory over the Jazz during Game Five on Tuesday.

Tracy McGrady scored 29 points to lead Houston to the victory and is confident that his team can keep their playoff hops alive in Utah.

"We know we can win in Utah, because we've done it before," McGrady said. "It doesn't even feel like we're down, 3-2. Two of the games we lost we felt like we had it."

The Rockets find themselves in a similar position to the 2006-07 campaign. In the opening-round series, the Rockets forced a Game Seven with a victory in Utah only to return home and lose the decisive contest.

If the Jazz want to avoid returning to Houston, they'll have to step up their play on defense as the Rockets shot nearly 47 percent from the field on Tuesday.

"We just didn't play any good defense," Jazz center Mehmet Okur said. "They controlled the tempo and we didn't do anything. We settled for outside jumpers."

Utah also needs an improved performance from its bench, which was outscored 18-0 in the first half as the Rockets carried an 11-point lead into the locker rooms.

"We have to outplay their bench," said Rockets guard Bobby Jackson, who led all reserves with nine points on Tuesday. "That's what keeps them in games, their bench."

    HOUSTON 91
    UTAH 113 FINAL

    May 3 1:09 AM

    HOUSTON 65
    UTAH 85 END, 3RD QTR

    May 3 12:35 AM

    HOUSTON 54

    May 2 11:51 PM

    HOUSTON 22
    UTAH 32 END, 1ST QTR

    May 2 11:14 PM
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