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NBA Preview from The Sports Network



Monday, April 14th (All times eastern)

Houston Rockets (54-26) at Utah Jazz (53-27), 9 p.m.

(Sports Network) - A possible preview of a first-round matchup in the Western Conference playoffs is on tap tonight, as the Utah Jazz host the Houston Rockets at EnergySolutions Arena.

Utah is the Northwest Division champion and the fourth seed in the West, while the Rockets are No. 5 and one game ahead of the sixth-seeded Phoenix Suns. The Jazz defeated Houston in seven games in the first round of last year's postseason.

Houston is tied with the San Antonio Spurs for second place in the Southwest Division, one game behind the division-leading New Orleans Hornets. The Rockets are also 1 1/2 games behind the Los Angeles Lakers for the top seed in the conference.

The Jazz and Rockets have split a pair of games this season, as both teams were victorious on the road. Houston has still dropped seven of nine and 18 of its last 21 at Utah.

The Rockets will try to bounce back from a 111-94 loss to the Denver Nuggets on Sunday at the Pepsi Center. Luther Head led Houston with 19 points, and Tracy McGrady finished with 16 points, four rebounds and seven assists in defeat.

Houston is 24-16 on the road this season. The Rockets will close out the regular season on Wednesday against the Los Angeles Clippers at the Staples Center.

Utah plays its final home game of the regular season. The Jazz, who are a league-best 36-4 as the host this season, will visit San Antonio on Wednesday at the AT&T Center for its regular-season finale.

On Saturday, Mehmet Okur was one of three Utah players with 20 points, as the Jazz pulled away to beat Denver, 124-97, at EnergySolutions Arena. Okur also had 15 rebounds, while Carlos Boozer finished with 20 points and seven assists in the victory.

Ronnie Brewer added 20 points and six assists for Utah, which has captured five of its last six games overall and seven straight at home.

Point guard Deron Williams (sore tail bone) is probable for the Jazz. Williams is averaging 19.0 points and a team-best 10.6 assists per game this season. The Illinois product has played in all 80 of Utah's games during the campaign.

04/14 10:42:07 ET


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