NBA Game Summary - Houston at Utah
(Monday, April 10th)
Final Score: Utah 85, Houston 83
Salt Lake City, UT (Sports Network) - Carlos Boozer finished with a team-high 25 points, hitting 1-of-2 free throws with 4.3 seconds to play to secure an 85-83 win for Utah over Houston.
The Rockets, who lost Yao Ming to a broken bone in his foot in the first half, looked as if they had won the game at the end, but referee Joe Crawford confirmed a video replay that Juwan Howard's three-pointer came after the buzzer had sounded.
Boozer, who converted 7-of-8 chances at the stripe, added six rebounds and four steals for Utah, winners of three in a row. The Jazz moved within 2 1/2 games of Sacramento and the Los Angeles Lakers, who are tied for seventh in the Western Conference. The Jazz have five games remaining in the regular season, three of which are on the road.
Mehmet Okur added 20 points and a game-high 12 rebounds for the Jazz, while Matt Harpring tallied 14 points and Deron Williams scored 11 to go along with a game-high eight assists.
Already without the services of an injured Tracy McGrady, the Rockets soon found themselves trying to fight off Utah without Yao in the pivot. In the first quarter Yao came down awkwardly on Williams' foot and was visibly in pain as he made his way down the floor. He was taken to the locker room for X- rays which showed a broken bone in his left foot and is now out for the team's final four games of the season.
Yao finished with five points in just over eight minutes of work, leaving Howard to pace the visitors with 25 points. As the only Houston player to convert a three-point basket (3-of-7), Rafer Alston dropped in 22 points in the losing effort, Houston's fifth defeat in six contests.
Although the Rockets were faced with having to play the majority of the contest with Yao unavailable, the squad trailed by 22-17 at the end of one period of play and was down just 42-35 at the break.
In the final 3.5 seconds of the third both teams buried three-point shots, with Williams dropping a jumper at the buzzer for the Jazz to give them a 70-61 edge heading into the fourth.
Refusing to give up hope, Houston opened the final frame on a 10-0 run to take a one-point advantage and set up a close battle that went down to the wire.
Knotted at 83, Williams broke the tie as he hit a free throw for the Jazz at the 1:11 mark. Following a couple of empty possessions by both teams, Chuck Hayes was fouled in the paint as he attempted to put back a blocked shot for the Rockets, but he missed both of his free-throw attempts and Houston was forced to foul to stop the clock.
At the other end, Boozer hit the first of two free-throw attempts for Utah to move its lead to two points at 85-83, but after rebounding the miss on the second try the Rockets still had 3.7 seconds left to give the visitors one final opportunity at the win.
Following a timeout that moved the ball to half court, Alston took the inbounds pass and dribbled around the perimeter before passing to Howard who sank a three-pointer from the corner. However, after reviewing the video replay Crawford confirmed the shot came after the buzzer.
Hayes finished with nine points and a team-high 10 rebounds for the Rockets...Andrei Kirilenko tallied just three points as he shot 1-of-3 from the floor in more than 35 minutes of action...Houston outscored the Jazz in the paint 50-24...Utah turned the ball over 20 times and recorded just six offensive rebounds...In addition to holding the Rockets to only 3-of-16 shooting beyond the arc, the Jazz also outscored the visitors at the free- throw line 21-10.
04/11 00:31:13 ET