HOUSTON (AP) -Instead of the second round, the Utah Jazz are headed back home for Game 6.
And they might be facing another trip to Houston if they play as poorly in that game as they did Tuesday night in their 95-69 loss to the Rockets.
``We lost a playoff game by 20 points,'' forward Andrei Kirilenko said. ``It was definitely terrible.''
Game 6 is Friday in Salt Lake City, where the Jazz can try to get it together and win the series. If not, they'll be back in Houston on Sunday for Game 7. Utah needed seven games to win the first-round series against Houston last season.
The Rockets led by two after the first quarter and scored nine straight points to open the second and stretch their lead to 27-16. The Jazz missed four shots and had two turnovers in that 2 1/2-minute span.
The rest of the game didn't go any better for Utah.
At one point late in the first half, Mehmet Okur and Kirilenko had an uncontested shot at a rebound. Instead of either of them coming down with it, they ran into each other and knocked it out of bounds.
It was that kind of night for the Jazz, who struggled from the outset and scored a season-low 32 points in the first half. Their 13 first-half field goals tied for fewest in a first half this year.
Utah's 69 points were the fewest ever scored against Houston in a playoff game.
The Rockets seemed to get almost every loose ball and were often on the floor fighting for balls. That wasn't the case for Utah.
``I think we can play harder,'' Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said. ``We have to play harder to beat them. Because they got loose balls. They knocked us around, they went after the basketball with their heart.''
Added Kirilenko: ``They outhustled us everywhere, offensively, defensively, all over the court. We forced shots and didn't go inside.''
Carlos Boozer led the Jazz with 19 points, but missed several easy shots and finished 8-of-18.
The Jazz scored eight straight points to cut the lead to 47-40 with about 8 1/2 minutes left in the third quarter, but the Rockets went on a 7-0 run to stretch the lead to 14.
The Rockets won at home for the first time in the series after the Jazz took the first two games in Houston. The Rockets won Game 3 before the Jazz took a 3-1 series lead with a victory in Game 4.
Early in the series it looked as if Houston was no match for Utah. The Rockets were without Yao Ming and Rafer Alston, and the Jazz coasted to two easy wins. The tables were turned Tuesday and 12 consecutive points by Houston late in third quarter gave the Rockets a 22-point lead and left the suddenly offensively challenged Jazz frustrated.
Although Utah's struggles were most evident on offense, Okur said the problems were caused in part by poor defense.
``We just didn't play any defense,'' he said. ``We didn't do anything to win the ballgame for the most part. On defense we didn't even try, really.''
Midway through the fourth quarter, Deron Williams drove to the lane and made an easy layup.
Not so fast. Williams was called for traveling and spent quite some time arguing the call with the official.
About two minutes later, with no chance to win this one, Williams and the rest of Utah's starters were sent to the bench.
The odds of eventually winning the series are on Utah's side. Only eight teams in league history have come back after being down 3-1 to win the series.
The bad news?
Houston was one of them.

Top NBA Public Bets


NBA Top Stories

Thumbnail Daunting challenge awaits Payton, Orlando Kevin Durant’s always been considered a proficient long-range shooter. Now that the small forward resides in Golden State, though, we’re witnessing the...
Thumbnail Lakers vs. Mavericks Pick Can the Dallas Mavericks handle their business at home when they host the Los Angeles Lakers today at 3:30PM ET?
Thumbnail Marquee matchup on tap in Buckeye State There’s no disputing that the Cavaliers flunked Monday’s test vs. the Western Conference-leading Warriors. But how will Tyronn Lue’s troops fare against the...
Thumbnail Rockets vs. Grizzlies Prediction Fresh off their loss to the Warriors, will the Rockets lose back-to-back games when they visit the Grizzlies at 8:00PM ET?
Thumbnail Blazers vs. Celtics Prediction Are the Celtics a good bet to cover the spread coming off a loss when they host the Trail Blazers today at 5:00PM ET?

NBA Team Pages