NBA Game Summary - Utah at Houston
(Tuesday, December 27th)
Final Score: Utah 82, Houston 74
Houston, TX (Sports Network) - Mehmet Okur scored 20 points and tied a season high with 17 rebounds, as the Utah Jazz defeated the Houston Rockets, 82-74, at the Toyota Center.
Jarron Collins tied a season high with 15 points while Andrei Kirilenko and Keith McLeod each tallied 10 for Utah, which has won two straight games.
Tracy McGrady led all scorers with 21 first-half points, but the Rockets forward left at intermission with his fiancee expected to give birth at any time.
Juwan Howard contributed 19 points and eight rebounds while David Wesley added 14 points for Houston, which has lost three in a row and four of its last five games.
"What matters is that we fouled too much, we turned it over too much, and I think we probably shot in the 20's," said Houston head coach Jeff Van Gundy. "We didn't play well enough on offense to win. We have professional players out there, so we have no excuses."
Houston's halftime edge was short-lived, as the Rockets shot a dismal 28.6 percent (12-of-42) from the floor in the second half.
Utah opened the third quarter on a 9-2 run to take its first lead. Gordan Giricek converted a three-point play and Collins gave the Jazz a 45-43 advantage on a basket in the lane moments later.
The Jazz eventually maintained a 60-59 lead after three quarters.
Houston went ice cold from the field in the opening stages of the fourth stanza as Utah scored eight of the first 10 points to hold a 68-61 edge. Milt Palacio had four points, including an easy basket, to give the Jazz the seven-point lead.
Howard converted a bank shot from the right block to trim the deficit to 72-68 with 2:30 left, but after a Devin Brown basket, Okur drained a three- pointer that just beat the shot clock to make the score 77-68 with 1:25 remaining.
Wesley then scored two straight baskets to get Houston within five with 35 seconds to play, but the Jazz made their free throws to seal the victory.
"We just came with a lot of effort. Last night's overtime game was behind us. We came out with a lot of energy," said Okur. "They're a veteran team, they know how to play."
Houston scored the game's first four points and held a 26-19 advantage after the first quarter.
The lead extended to 28-19 before the Jazz went on a 9-0 spurt to tie the game. Brown started the run with a free throw and Giricek ended the scoring streak with two shots from the charity stripe.
The game remained close for the remainder of the half, with the Rockets taking a 41-36 edge into the locker room.
The Jazz are 7-8 away from Salt Lake City...The home team has still won seven of the last 10 meetings...The two teams have split the last four contests...Houston dropped to 3-8 at home...Utah shot just 34.8 percent from the floor and Houston made only 34.2 percent of its shots...The teams combined to make 5-of-22 from three-point range...Kirilenko grabbed eight rebounds...Laymen Lamar McGrady was born at 9:53 p.m.
12/28 00:47:49 ET