The Utah Jazz need to discover an inside scoring presence against Yao Ming and the Houston Rockets, and they need to find it fast.
With the 7-foot-6 Yao in the middle for the Rockets, the Jazz have been reluctant to take the ball inside and have shot erratically from the outside in both games.
“It’s difficult. We have to take what they give us and they’re not going to give us much,” Utah coach Jerry Sloan said. “When we worked hard to get what we wanted, we got some shots inside.”
Utah has struggled to keep Tracy McGrady and Yao in check, both have scored more than 20 in each game, and has been stifled by Houston’s defense.
“We still didn’t get the result that we wanted, but we are playing better,” Utah forward Carlos Boozer said after practice Wednesday. “We’ve just got to win, man. We’ve got to win.”
The Rockets, meanwhile, know they can also play better and that a 2-0 lead can easily be blown. Houston led Dallas 2-0 in the opening round two years ago after two road wins but ended up losing the series 4-3.
“You can’t even think about wrapping it up. You’ve just got to go up and get a win,” McGrady said. “We’re a much more focused group, having gone through it before. We know what it takes to make it happen.”