Jazz-Rockets Preview

The Utah Jazz are coming off their highest-scoring game in
nearly two decades. The Houston Rockets are well aware how capable
the Jazz are of putting up big numbers.

Utah looks to win its third straight over the Rockets when it
visits the Toyota Center on Wednesday night.

After being held to 92 points in a loss to the Lakers on Friday
and snapping an 11-game streak of scoring at least 100, the Jazz
(51-27) topped Oklahoma City 140-139 in overtime on Tuesday behind
Deron Williams’ career-high 42 points.

Williams, who also had 10 assists, hit the go-ahead jumper from
the top of the key with 1.1 seconds left in the extra session. He
was 14 of 23 from the field, scoring 11 points after the third
quarter.

“Deron is always focused. I don’t think there’s a game he’s not
focused,” said Carlos Boozer, who finished with 28 points and 14
rebounds.

Utah shot 52.1 percent and went 12 of 21 from 3-point range. It
was the Jazz’s highest-scoring game since a 141-126 victory over
Denver on Dec. 13, 1990 and the most combined points in an NBA game
this season.

With the win, Utah moved into second place in the Western
Conference – a half-game ahead of third-place Dallas. The
Mavericks, Suns, Nuggets and Jazz are all fighting for three of the
top four spots in the West, which earns home-court advantage in the
first round of the playoffs.

If the Jazz can keep up their recent offensive surge, it seems
they would be in good position to secure one of those seeds. They
have won 14 of 20, averaging 112.0 points, and have scored more
than 120 in five of those games.

One of those contests was against Houston. Utah beat the Rockets
133-110 on Feb. 27, shooting 67.5 percent. Williams scored 35
points, shooting 13 of 17.

The Jazz have won two straight over the Rockets after losing the
series opener in November. That includes a 104-95 victory at
Houston on Feb. 16.

Williams is averaging 24.5 points and 12.2 assists the last six
times he has faced the Rockets.

Houston (39-38) has won three of five following a four-game
losing streak, including a 113-103 triumph over Memphis on Tuesday.
The Rockets led by four at the half, then closed out the third
quarter with an 11-2 run to take an 88-74 lead.

“We fought so hard during the early part of the season to get
into the playoffs,” said Trevor Ariza, who finished with 12 points
and eight rebounds. “Now, to know that you have no chance is kind
of tough to get motivated.”

Kevin Martin finished with 29 points in his second game back
after missing the previous five with a left shoulder sprain. Martin
has combined for 65 points in his last two games against the Jazz,
shooting 61.3 percent.