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AK comes alive! Jazz force Game 7

AK comes alive! Jazz force Game 7

Estimated read time: 3-4 minutes

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By DOUG ALDEN AP Sports Writer

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Instead of the second round, the Utah Jazz have Tracy McGrady and the Houston Rockets facing a Game 7.

Andrei Kirilenko had his best game of the series with 14 points and five blocks to lead the Jazz to a 94-82 victory Thursday night, forcing a deciding game back in Houston.

Mehmet Okur added 19 points, including four 3-pointers, as the Jazz finally started hitting from beyond the arc.

McGrady finished with 26 points and 10 rebounds for Houston. Yao Ming scored 25, but he also had eight turnovers -- two more than his rebound total -- as Okur and rookie Paul Millsap constantly pressured the 7-foot-6 center.

The home team has won every game in the series, which bodes well for the Rockets, who haven't played well in Utah this season or postseason. Game 7 is Saturday night.

Carlos Boozer added 22 points for Utah, and he and Okur both pulled down nine rebounds. Deron Williams had 15 points and eight assists, Millsap scored all of his eight points in the second quarter, as the Jazz took control and then held off several rallies by the Rockets down the stretch.

After falling behind by 11 late in the third quarter, Houston twice got within a point but never quite completed the comeback.

Kirilenko scored six points and blocked three shots in the fourth quarter. McGrady tried to drive on him once with the Rockets down three, but Kirilenko stayed on him and swatted the ball away during a 13-4 run that sealed it for the Jazz.

"We had a game we had to win or we were going home," Kirilenko said. "That's hard to play with this kind of intensity on both ends of the court, but we had to win."

Kirilenko got a layup to roll over the front of the rim and in and added a 21-foot jumper during Utah's late run. Yao dunked to get the Rockets within 81-76, then the Jazz answered with a jumper by Williams, two free throws by Boozer and a 3-pointer from Okur, who went 4-for-7 from beyond the arc.

Okur had made just four of 25 3-pointers in the first five games.

Okur was intense all night and it showed in the second quarter, when he took a hard foul from Juwan Howard. Okur got Howard in the air, then went up for a shot as Howard was coming down with a forearm.

Okur crashed hard to the floor and came up almost swinging. Instead he nudged Howard and got in his face before the two players were separated. Howard was called for a technical and was livid. He got right in referee Dick Bavetta's face and was yelling, but he was pulled away in time to avoid a second technical.

Okur made all three free throws to put Utah up 36-35. Utah led 46-43 at halftime.

Notes:@ Yao scored the Rockets' first six points and also had a tip-in waived off for goaltending. ... McGrady and Yao were the only Rockets to attempt free throws through the first three quarters. ... Kirilenko hadn't scored more than eight in any of the first five games and his five blocks tied his playoff career high. ... McGrady's teams are 28-28 in the playoffs.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.) APTV-05-03-07 2102MDT

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