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Jazz power forwards missing in action

Jazz power forwards missing in action No Tracy McGrady. No Yao Ming. No problem for the Houston Rockets. The Rockets pulled away in the fourth quarter for a 113-96 victory over Utah , as the Jazz's "dynamic duo" at power forward could do nothing to stop the bleeding on either end of the court.

Carlos Boozer and Paul Millsap combined to shoot just 1-for-8 from the field and scored a total on nine points in the loss. Those are the same two players that are costing the Jazz more than $20 million in combined salaries this season. Boozer is off to a particularly rocky start to the season after a summer filled with controversy surrounding his desire to be traded by the Jazz . He has now made just 13-of-42 shots from the field ? for 31 percent ? for the first three games of the season. "Sometimes I feel like I am (pressing) a little bit," said Boozer after his seven point, 11 rebound performance. "I've just got to go out there and let it flow a little bit." Jazz coach Jerry Sloan knows his two-time All-Star and Olympian is under pressure ? but says that's nothing new for Boozer. "(Boozer's) the guy with all the attention on him and that started before he got here," said Sloan. "People couldn't wait to see him fail. ... You have one little thing go wrong and you feel like the world is caving in on you. You just have to play and fight through that." Many Jazz fans in the stands have yet to forgive Boozer for his talking in various interviews over the summer about wanting to play for the Miami Heat or Chicago Bulls. One clear example of fan discontent came in the second quarter when Boozer ripped down one of his team-high 11 rebounds, but then sailed the outlet pass over the head of point guard Deron Williams for one of his four turnovers. Audible boos could be heard ? and the fans weren't chanting the first part of Boozer's last name. "(Boozer's) in a tough situation with everything that went on the past year and in the summer," said Williams. "He put a lot of pressure on himself. Hopefully he can play through that." As poorly as Boozer may have played on Monday night, Millsap was worse. He finished with more fouls (six) than points (two) or rebounds (five) in 24 minutes of play. "Obviously, we overlooked the talent level that they had out there," said Millsap of the Rockets. "Those guys can play ? otherwise they wouldn't be in the league. We just need to put this behind us." Boozer disagreed with Millsap about overlooking Houston ? even though the Rockets were playing without McGrady and Yao ? its two perennial All-Stars. "I don't think we took them lightly. They just took it too us," said Boozer. "They played hard. ... We couldn't get any stops and couldn't make too many shots either, so it just snowballed into a big deficit." Boozer and Millsap won't have long to dwell on their rough outings ? since the Jazz face the Mavericks tonight in Dallas. Sloan knows Boozer is capable of better and is pulling for his struggling big man. "I hope (Boozer) comes and plays as well as he can," said Sloan. "I know there is a lot of pressure on him." e-mail:

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Added: November 4, 2009


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