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[deseret news] Lost Opportunity

Discussion in 'Houston Rockets: Game Action & Roster Moves' started by Faos, May 1, 2007.

  1. Faos

    Faos Contributing Member

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    http://www.deseretnews.com/dn/view/0,1249,660216650,00.html

    Lost opportunity — Jazz lose halftime lead for third time in series

    By Tim Buckley
    Deseret Morning News

    HOUSTON — Matt Harpring sat covered in ice, one sore body part colder than the next.

    Utah's Carlos Boozer, left, and Paul Millsap watch as Houston's Yao Ming and Chuck Hayes celebrate the win over the Jazz Monday night.

    The real chill, though, was in Harpring's voice, each word more haunting than the next as he described the hurt of opportunity squandered with the Jazz's 96-92 loss to Houston on Monday night in Game 5 of their first-round NBA playoff series.

    "I'm disappointed," the Jazz's veteran small forward said after Utah pulled to one point of the Rockets twice in the game's final two minutes, then failed to score on its final three trips down the floor at the sold-out Toyota Center. "I'm very disappointed.

    "It's tough. There won't be a lot of sleep," Harpring added. "I mean, it's anger. It's a lot of emotions. But the bottom line is the world goes on, and we've got a Game 6 on Thursday."

    The Jazz head back to EnergySolutions Arena for Thursday's next outing in the best-of-seven Western Conference series down only 3-2, yet shuddering over the reality that they could just as easily be up by a game.
    Or more.

    "Every game we've played here we've had a chance to win," point guard Deron Williams said. "That's what's disappointing about it. We've been right there. We've done all the right things. It's just one little stretch, two little stretches, where they're able to get confidence going and take over."

    This time, the most painful stretch for the Jazz followed a 6-0 Utah burst that started with two jumpers Harpring hit from virtually the same spot on the left side of the court.

    Harpring's second 20-footer allowed the Jazz to trim what had been a seven-point Houston lead to three at 91-88, and one Utah possession later team-high 26-pointer Carlos Boozer made it a one-point game by going to his left hand to swoop a shot around 7-foot-6 Rockets center Yao Ming.

    Yao — who finished with 21 points, but had only 12 through three quarters — answered by backing down Jazz center Mehmet Okur.

    Houston's Tracy McGrady flies to the hoop between Utah's Andrei Kirilenko and Carlos Boozer Monday night. Houston leads, 3-2.

    "I could have done a better job on him," said Okur, who also failed to reach double-digit scoring for the fourth time in five series games.

    That was not the Jazz's only admission of personal failure.

    After Boozer cut to the basket on a give-and-go play with Andrei Kirilenko that made it 93-92 Rockets with 1:12 to go, Yao was called for bulling his shoulder into Okur.

    And that's when so much went so wrong in so short a time for Utah.
    First, an Okur trey try rimmed out. Kirilenko got the rebound, but Harpring wound up short on a 16-footer near the same left-side baseline where his two earlier shots were taken.

    "I thought the shot clock was going out," said Harpring, who actually had about eight seconds to shoot. "So I hurried it."

    Rockets point Rafer Alston hit 1-of-2 free throws on the other end to put Houston up by two, and again the Jazz had a chance to take advantage.
    This time, though, veteran guard Derek Fisher was tagged for a charge in the lane on Rockets power forward Chuck Hayes.

    "I'm still pretty stunned and confused," said Fisher, who reacted to the foul call with a look of amazement.
    "Until I see the play, I won't be able to really make an accurate assessment of it. But I really felt like the two guys that were chasing me, I was definitely by them. And as I went into a shooting-type motion, I don't think Hayes was there. But that's my opinion.

    "There is no excuse," Fisher added. "The ball was in my hands. It counts as a turnover, and that's a tough spot in the game to turn the ball over. So I'm disappointed, and I'll take the blame on the play. You can't change it now."

    Nor could the Jazz, as it turned out, change the outcome as — after Yao hit 2-of-2 freebies to put Houston ahead by the final margin of four points — Williams missed on successive 3-point attempts.

    One was blocked by Hayes, the other came up short just before time expired.

    "You can't always make plays," Williams said. "Can't always have the game go the way you want to."

    Yet the Jazz also seemed to sense they could have just as easily left here with things indeed having gone their way.

    They led, after all, by one point at the break — the fifth straight time in the series they were up heading into the second half.

    They flustered Yao for most of three quarters, and held him to 21 or fewer points for the second straight time after he opened with at least 26 in the first three series games.

    And they really didn't allow Rockets All-Star Tracy McGrady, whose team-high 26 points matched those by Boozer, to get going until the third quarter, when he scored 11 on 5-of-7 field shooting.

    Not that any of that was of much consolation to the Jazz, who headed home thinking mostly about what they did not accomplish down the stretch.

    "It doesn't matter," said Harpring, his ice bags still frozen. "We lost the game."
     
  2. TriCkz

    TriCkz Member

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    Well I hope they feel that way in Utah. ;)
     
  3. DwangBoy

    DwangBoy Member

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    i'll be fully rejuvenated if we can pull of a win in utah, so they don't still feel superior.
     
  4. Jacquescas

    Jacquescas Contributing Member

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    and espeically with the chance to play golden state in the second round.

    Of the top 3 teams in NBA history that lost in the first round.

    1994 sonics 63-19 lost to denver, Denver lost in the second round.

    1981 bucks 60-22 lost to 76ers, 76ers lost in the second round.

    1973 bucks 60-22 lost to Warriors, Warriors lost in the second round.


    Statistically if Golden State pulls off the upset the opportunity to the WCF's is about as wide open as anyone could ever expect to get in probably 10 years.
     
  5. Mordo

    Mordo Contributing Member

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    That's what I call the Perfect Storm for Rocket's Success.
     
  6. life_chen

    life_chen Contributing Member

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    Well Jazz players seem to have a lot of anger, which I wish we had.
     
  7. SuperS32

    SuperS32 Member

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    What about the '99 Knicks beating the Heat and eventually going all the way to the NBA Finals?
     
  8. Kindger

    Kindger Contributing Member

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    So they think they could have won those 3 games in Toyota Center? :rolleyes: This is our house you fxxing idiots!!!
     
  9. Sishir Chang

    Sishir Chang Contributing Member

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    ^ I agree with the Jazz. Each of the three games at TC were relatively close and the Jazz had opportunities to win them.

    I love the Rox but they are getting lucky. The charge call goes the other way, Okur hits the three or Harping and the Jazz win and go up 3-2. Its great that T-Mac came to play but the Jazz are playing tough too.

    We still got to do better and can't take Thurs or Sat. for granted.
     
  10. rage

    rage Member

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    The Jazz played well in all 5 games. Their execution have been superb. It looks like they have had easier looks than us. Most every shot we got have been hard. The only things we have open (which Sloan undoubtedly gambles on) are the 3 pt shots. If we make them, we are in hog's heaven. If we don't, we just plain look ugly. :)
     
  11. doublebogey

    doublebogey Member

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    Fisher becomes the choker. 1st game missed a 3 on 1 layup at the end of 3rd qtr to kill the Jazz momentum. 4th game got call for a charge with 2 points behind in the last minute.
     
  12. dividend

    dividend Member

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    it's funny cause the jazz are supposed to be the good comeback team, and we're supposed to be the team that loses 4th quarter leads (according to the regular season)
     
  13. JeopardE

    JeopardE Contributing Member

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    [​IMG]
     
  14. MLittle577

    MLittle577 Contributing Member

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    Maybe we can switch the tables on them and have a chance to win up there for a change.
     
  15. Jacquescas

    Jacquescas Contributing Member

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    This is a list of teams that won 60 wins. 1999 was a strike shortened season where the top team was 33-17 and the knicks were 27-23. Even if they played 82 games the Heat (top team in 1999) would have only won 54 games and not made the list.
     
  16. TBar

    TBar Contributing Member

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    Agreed - as much of a fan as I am - Houston has been incredibly lucky. The Jazz seem to want to win more than we do. I am really concerned about our lack of intensity-desperation to win. Laast nite was our whole season - I am thankful we won - but it could have easily been a Utah win.

    We have to go there with a "us against the world" desperate mindset to win. This will not be easy.

    The Jazz are a tough - dirty team. I hate 'em- but I sure take them seriously and respect them for their effort.
     
  17. famicom

    famicom Member

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    You'd rather have the anger from losing?? Pshh I had enough of that the last two games, let's get a HAPPY FROM WINNING!!
     
  18. SlamIt

    SlamIt Member

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    It is funny that he think he has not done a good job on Yao. I think Yao should've completely dominated him but actually Okur has so far done a pretty decent job on Yao.

    SI
     
  19. JuanValdez

    JuanValdez Contributing Member

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    That doesn't seem like a valid reason to exclude the Knicks from consideration -- just a convenient excuse.

    Also, I wouldn't count on seeing Golden State in the second round until they secure that last win. Even if they are up 3-1, they are playing a very good team in Dallas. History is made, occassionally.
     
  20. Pocket Rockets

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    this reminds me of the 97 wcf.

    every home team won the 1st 5 games...all 3 of the jazz wins were very close and we couldve won any of those 3 games. We came back and killed them in game 3 or eddie beat them in game 4.

    sweet revenge if we can pull what they did in game 6.
     

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