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Houston Loses to Jazz in Season-opener
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Tracy McGrady tallied 25 points, Yao Ming chipped in with 22 points and nine rebounds, but Rockets' reserves only contributed 11 points and Houston started the NBA season on the road with a 107-97 loss to the Utah Jazz.


Carlos Boozer scored 24 points and pulled down 19 boards, Deron Williams also had a double-double with 18 points and 10 assists for Utah, and Derek Fisher, who led a decisive eight-point run in the last quarter, had 13 points and six assists in his Utah debut.


Fisher was acquired from Golden State in a trade last summer and got a warm welcome from the Jazz fans when he came off the bench in the first quarter. At the end, he had the home fans roaring with some hustling plays and clutch shooting after the Rockets whittled away at a 20-point Jazz lead and got within five points.


Rafer Alston connected on a 3-pointer to cap an 11-2 run that got the Rockets within 99-94 with 3:32 left in the game. But the Jazz didn't allow the Rockets to score again until Battier's 3-pointer with 18 seconds left.


Mehmet Okur hit a 20-foot jumper, then Williams hit a jump shot in the lane to put Utah up 103-94. McGrady was short on a jump shot and the Jazz got the rebound. Fisher handled the ball this time and his baseline jumper with 1:12 left put the Jazz ahead 105-94 and had the home fans roaring when Houston called a timeout.


The Rockets went right to Yao after the timeout, but Fisher sneaked in and stripped the ball out of Yao's hands, grabbed it while sitting between Yao's legs and quickly called time. Houston double-teamed Fisher after the inbounds play and Fisher split the defenders with a pass to Williams for a layup that put the Jazz up 107-94.


Alston finished with 15 points, Kirk Snyder scored 13 and Shane Battier had 11 as all of Houston's starters reached double figures.


(Agencies November 2, 2006)

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