05.04.07

It’s now or never

Posted in Basketball at 5:52 pm by Nicole

It was a tough scene in the Rockets’ postgame locker room last night – and a stunning turn of events. Earlier in the week, the press had made all kinds of news over Utah’s Andrei Kirilenko, a former All-Star who just couldn’t find his game in Game 1 of this series, dissolving into tears while talking to the media after the Sunday morning practice in Houston. Last night, after coming within a point of tying the game in the fourth quarter, the Rockets dissolved and the Jazz took charge in the most partisan, loud arena I’ve ever been in for a basketball game. (Never before have I seen a crowd boo the visiting team for the entire length of every possession. Houston’s loud, but they’re not actively trying to unnerve the Jazz all the time. Note to Utah fans: doesn’t make you look great.) Kirilenko in particular was stunning, swatting away Yao shots and just being everywhere all the time. The Jazz won, of course, to force Game 7 in Houston tomorrow night. After the game, Yao Ming, who had eight turnovers and way too many missed shots, said during his comments to the media “My career is on the line.” And he looked like he was the one who was about to start crying.

But this has been the sixth-man series the whole way through – the home team always wins, and that bodes well for Houston tomorrow night. It’s going to be a great game – and kudos all around to the Rockets and Jazz, classy athletes all, and their organizations for having had an amazingly competitive series in this first-round matchup. The Golden State Warriors (!) will have a very worthy opponent in either of these teams in the conference semifinals.

Houston fans, read the coverage here.

Utah fans, read the coverage here.

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