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.