Utah Jazz Have Rich Playoff History Against Houston
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The Utah Jazz are back in the playoff for the third straight season. They are the No. 5-seed in the Western Conference and will face the No. 4-seed Houston Rockets for the ninth time in the postseason, the most against any team in the west.
The Jazz and Rockets tied their season series at two games apiece.
The first meeting was on October 24 in Houston, Utah beat the Rockets 100-89. Donovan Mitchell poured in 38 points and 7 assists. James Harden led Houston with 29 points, Carmelo Anthony added 22 off the bench.
Salt Lake City was the site for the second matchup on December 6 and the Jazz won 118-91, despite Rudy Gobert getting ejected just three minutes into the game. Derrick Favors scored 24 points to lead the way. James Harden had just 15 points to lead Houston.
In Houston, the Rockets beat the Jazz 102-97 on December 17. The Jazz let the game slip away late in the fourth. Mitchell had 23 for Utah, while Harden dropped 47 points for Houston.
The final meeting was in Utah with the Rockets picking up a 125-98 win. Harden exploded with 43 points, Mitchell led Utah with 26 points.
The Jazz have compiled a 22-22 record in the playoffs against the Rockets. They have won four of the eight series all-time, only one time did they knock off the Rockets in either the second round or conference finals, which was in 1997 when John Stockton hit the game-winner in Game 6 to advance to the NBA Finals for the first time in franchise history.
1985 – Jazz Won Series 3-2
It was only the second time since moving to Utah that the Jazz made the playoffs. They alternating wins with the Jazz winning Games 1, 3 and 5 to advance to the second round where they lost to the Denver Nuggets in five games.
Utah picked up a 14-point win in Houston in Game 1 with a 34-point outing from Adrian Dantley and 25 points from Thurl Bailey. The Jazz lost by 26 points at home in Game 2 to have Houston tie the series.
Dantley dropped 29 points to help the Jazz pick up an eight point win at home in Game 3, but Houston won by two points in Game 4 to send the series to Texas for a deciding Game 5. Dantley scored 25 points, while Bailey added 20 points to help the Jazz beat Houston by seven points, despite 32 points, 14 rebounds and 6 blocks from Hakeem Olajuwon.
1994 – Rockets Won Series 4-1 In Conference Finals
The Jazz appeared in their second conference finals in franchise history after knocking off the San Antonio Spurs in four games and the Denver Nuggets in seven games.
Houston started the series by beating the Jazz by 12 points at home with Hakeem Olajuwon going off for 32 points, 14 rebounds and 6 blocks. With a five point win in Game 2, the Rockets had a 2-0 series lead going to Utah.
The Jazz avoided the 3-0 deficit by picking up a 9-point win. Karl Malone had 22 points and 16 rebounds. The Rockets barely beat the Jazz by two points in Game 4 with Kenny Smith leading Houston with 25 points.
They put the Jazz away in Game 5 with an 11 point win. Olajuwon and Robert Horry each had 22 points, but Malone’s 31 point, 10 rebound and 7 assist performance wasn’t enough to extend the series.
The Rockets went on to win the NBA Championship by beating the New York Knicks in seven games.
1995 – Rockets Won Series 3-2
The Jazz met the defending champs the following season in the first round. The Jazz lost again in five games but it was a best-of-five series.
Utah started with a two-point win at home in Game 1 with the help of John Stocktons’ 28 points and 10 assists, while Karl Malone chipped in 25 points and 14 rebounds. Hakeem Olajuwon scored 45 points.
The Rockets beat the Jazz by 14 in Utah in Game 2 as Kenny Smith, Clyde Drexler and Hakeem Olajuwon combined for 89 points. Utah took a 2-1 series lead with a 13-point win in Houston in Game 3. Malone had 32 points and 19 rebounds.
Houston tied the series after winning Game 4 by 17 points at home. Drexler and Olajuwon had 81 points combined.
The Rockets won the deciding Game 5 in Utah by four points, despite Malone scoring 31 points. Olajuwon had 33 points and Drexler added 31.
Houston went on to sweep the Orlando Magic in the NBA Finals to claim their second straight championship.
1997 – Jazz Won Series 4-2 In Conference Finals
Karl Malone scored 21 points and pulled down 13 rebounds in Game 1 at home to give the Jazz a 15-point win. They would take a 2-0 series lead to Houston after a 12-point win in Game 2, John Stockton had 26 points, 12 assists and 8 rebounds.
The Rockets won Game 3 at home with Eddie Johnson scoring 31 points off the bench. Game 4 went to the Rockets with a 3-point victory after getting 27 points from Hakeem Olajuwon.
Utah picked up a 96-91 win in Game 5 at home with 29 points and 14 rebounds coming from Malone.
It Houston for Game 6, John Stockton hit the biggest shot in franchise history as he broke the tie late in the game to send the Jazz to the NBA Finals for the first time ever.
The Jazz lost to the Chicago Bulls in six games in the NBA Finals.
1998 – Jazz Won Series 3-2
Both teams would meet in the first round the following season. After losing Game 1 by 13 at home, the Jazz bounced back with a 15-point win in Game 2.
Hakeem Olajuwon dropped 22 points and 12 rebounds, while Clyde Drexler added 22 points in their Game 3 win at home to take a 2-1 series lead. Utah tied the series at two games apiece with a 22-point win on the road. Karl Malone scored 29 points to lead the Jazz.
The Jazz put the series away with a 14-point victory at home in Game 5. Malone was fantastic with 31 points and 15 rebounds.
Utah went on to beat the San Antonio Spurs in five games in the second round, a four-game sweep over the Los Angeles Lakers in the conference finals before losing to the Chicago Bulls in five games in the NBA Finals.
2007 – Jazz Won Series 4-3
It would be nine years before the two teams would meet in the postseason again, both under completely new eras. Each team won their home games all the way to Game 7, with the Jazz knocking off the Rockets in Houston. Carlos Boozer had 35 points and 14 rebounds, Deron Williams poured in 20 points and 14 assists, while Mehmet Okur chipped in 16 points and 11 assists.
Tracy McGrady and Yao Ming each scored 29 points in the loss.
The Jazz went on to beat the Golden State Warriors in five games in the second round before falling to the San Antonio Spurs in five games in the Western Conference Finals.
2008 – Jazz Won Series 4-2
The Rockets were looking for revenge when the two teams met in the first round the following season. This series was a little different than the previous series in 2007.
The Jazz had an impressive start to the series with an 11-point win in Game 1 with Andrei Kirilenko scoring 21 points, Deron Williams and Carlos Boozer each scoring 20 in Houston. Game 2 was also a big win as the Jazz took a 2-0 series lead back to Salt Lake City.
Houston avoided the 0-3 deficit with a two-point victory in Game 3 as Tracy McGrady scored 27 points. The Jazz went up 3-1 with a four-point win in Game 4.
The Rockets dominated Game 5 in Houston with a 95-69 victory as McGrady poured in 29 points.
Despite McGrady exploding for 40 points in Game 6, the Jazz closed out the Rockets with a 22-point win. Deron Williams dropped 25 points and 9 assists.
Utah went on to lose to the Los Angeles Lakers in six games in the second round.
2018 – Rockets Won Series 4-1 In Second Round
Ten years later, the two teams would meet again in the playoffs in the second round and once again with new stars. The Jazz eliminated the Oklahoma City Thunder in six games, while the Rockets took down the Minnesota Timberwolves in five games.
The Rockets took Game 1 with a 14-point win in Houston as James Harden poured in 41 points, 8 rebounds and 7 assists. Donovan Mitchell led the Jazz with 21 points.
Utah tied the series with a 116-108 win in Game 2. Joe Ingles had 27 points to lead Utah and Harden chipped in 32 for Houston.
Houston dominated Game 3 in Utah with a 22-point win. They won by 13 in Game 4 and closed out the Jazz with a 10-point win in Houston in Game 5. The Rockets went on to lose to the Golden State Warriors in seven games in the Western Conference Finals.
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