Rockets answer the urgency bell

April 30, 2008 9:22:42 PM PDT
The Rockets leave Thursday for Salt Lake City and Game 6 of the first round of the NBA playoffs. Tuesday night, the absolutely dominated the Jazz to extend their season.It was one of those games where the Rockets were loose being down 3-1, and played like it. Utah came out with little immediacy or energy, and they played like it.

Tracy McGrady silenced the critics, at least for now, with his 29 points, five rebounds and five assists -- bad knee, bad shoulder and all.

"You know, I was real fortunate to have fresh legs throughout the whole game. And I was just mixing my game up ? one-dribble pull-up, going to the basket. I kept 'em off balance a little bit," McGrady said of his performance against the Jazz.

One of the differences in the Rockets was being more physical on Utah's big men under the basket. Luis Scola had a huge game banging with Carlos Boozer and Co. and coming up with 18 points and 12 rebounds.

"I think we did a really solid defensive job, giving them 69 points, which I think is huge for a playoff game," Scola said.

"Luis came in in the second half and really got it going around the basket. Carl (Landry) was good. You just look down the line. That second group coming in the second quarter was huge for us," Rockets coach Rick Adelman said.

Rafer Alston being back for the second straight game made a big difference as well: 14 points, two steals and six assists. He made sure the ball was distributed.

"We had to play with a sense of urgency. We were down 3-1. You better not come out and wait for them to take the first hit. You better make the first punch and see how they respond," Alston said.

On Friday, the series goes back to one of the loudest arenas in the league in Salt Lake City, but also a place the Rockets won last time (in Game 4). Utah still has the 3-2 upper hand in the series, and is headed home to try to close out the Rockets.

"They're not gonna come in and say, 'We're gonna give you a game,' because they've made up their mind to go after us. And they've done that the last two, three games since they've had Alston back," Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said.

- Send us your sports story tips
- Click here for more sports stories


Load Comments