News » Jazz: Houston goes long to defeat Utah

Jazz: Houston goes long to defeat Utah

Jazz: Houston goes long to defeat Utah Three games into the season, the Jazz's issues seemed almost infinite following Monday night's 113-96 embarrassment against the Houston Rockets, but the foremost question is whether their fans are going to stick around through the search for answers.

The Jazz were run off the floor in the fourth quarter and watched EnergySolutions Arena empty as rarely seen, starting with 5 minutes remaining and the Rockets leading by 18 and turning into a full-blown protest march to the exits during a timeout with 3:44 left.

With the memories of last season's 2-7 collapse to finish the regular season still fresh, the Jazz apparently exhausted the patience of their fans by the first week of November. Even Deron Williams admitted the Jazz seem headed down the same disappointing path.

"It's like we picked up right where we left off," Williams said. "We haven't played a good game of Basketball yet. It doesn't look too good right now from the inside. I'm sure it doesn't look good from the outside.

"Anytime it's the third game of the season, you're getting booed in your home arena, you're not going to feel good."

Asked if the Jazz (1-2) remind themselves it is a long season, Williams said: "What else can you do? We've got the players we've got. We've got the coach we've got. We've got the coaching staff we've got. We've got to go out there and get wins."

Even without injured stars Tracy McGrady and Yao Ming, the Rockets had eight players score in double figures. Through three games, the Jazz are giving up 108.3 points a game, getting zero return on their commitment to defensive accountability.

Most alarmingly, Carlos Boozer's struggles grew deeper, as he went 1-for-6 with four turnovers, leaving the former All-Star shooting 31.0 percent this season. Asked if he was pressing, Boozer conceded, "Sometimes at times, yeah. Sometimes I feel like I am a little bit."

Some of Jazz coach Jerry Sloan's postgame comments suggested that Boozer's return to Utah has become a distraction. "He's the guy that all the attention has gone to," Sloan said, "and that started before he ever got here and people couldn't wait to see him fail."

"The concern is that Boozer has to fight through his thing," Sloan added. "But I don't know if we're using that as an excuse not to play well or not. That's something you have to see because that's all the questions I've been asked in the last few years since he's been here.

"I hope he comes and plays and does as well as he can. I know there's a lot of pressure on him. You've got to try to fight through that. That's the way life is."

As the Rockets took an eight-point lead in the third quarter, Boozer missed a 5-footer around the basket, had the ball slapped out of his hands and threw away a pass in the backcourt. He was booed the next time he touched the ball in the post.

With Houston ahead 96-84 in the fourth quarter, the Jazz came out of a timeout only to have Boozer miss a tough turnaround over Chuck Hayes. More boos followed. After the game, Williams was asked about the microscope Boozer is playing under.

"He's in a tough situation," Williams said. "With everything that went on in the past year and this summer, he put a lot of pressure on himself. Hopefully, he can play through that and not worry about the contract situation."

It was a frustrating night for Williams as well, fouling out with 18 points and eight assists but shooting 6-for-20. The fourth-quarter avalanche, in fact, could be traced to the offensive foul Williams was called for on a runner with 10:33 left.

Williams headed to the bench a minute after that fourth personal and the Rockets poured it on. Rookie second-round draft pick Chase Budinger (17 points) hit a three-pointer and Kyle Lowry circled around on a drive before draining an open baseline jumper.

The Rockets finished the game with a barrage of Aaron Brooks three-pointers and Trevor Ariza dunks, winning the fourth quarter 34-20 and breaking open the game with a 22-4 run. Sloan was still taking inventory of the uncontested drives afterward.

"That's not winning Basketball, that's just taking your paycheck and going home," Sloan said, adding of the Rockets, "That's Basketball at its best, and they showed us what it's like." Storylines

IN SHORT ? The Jazz are buried in the fourth quarter by the Rockets and booed repeatedly by their home fans.

KEY MOMENT ? Deron Williams picks up his fourth foul with 10:33 left and Houston breaks open a tie game afterward.

KEY STAT ? Carlos Boozer is 13-for-42 (31.0 percent) from the field through three games. Photo galleries online

See images of the Jazz's season so far at

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Author: Fox Sports
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Added: November 5, 2009


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