Rockets beat undermanned Jazz in double OT, 120-115

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HOUSTON (AP) -- Ron Artest scored 10 of his 28 points in the second overtime and the Houston Rockets recovered from blowing a 16-point lead in the second half to beat the Utah Jazz 120-115 on Saturday night.

Yao Ming had 26 points and grabbed 11 rebounds for the Rockets, who led 59-43 early in the third quarter, then went 3-for-18 from the field in the fourth to fuel Utah's comeback.

Ronnie Brewer scored 23 and Deron Williams had 14 points and 11 assists for the Jazz, who played without their top three scorers and rebounders -- Carlos Boozer, Mehmet Okur and Paul Millsap -- for the second straight game.

The game was tied at 96 at the end of the regulation, and at 101 after the first overtime.

Artest went 4-for-4 from the free-throw line in the first minute of the second extra period to give the Rockets a 105-101 lead. On Houston's next trip, Luis Scola cut inside for a layup, was fouled by Kyrylo Fesenko and finished the three-point play to put Houston up 108-102.

Kyle Korver sank a 3-pointer before Artest scored in the lane to put the Rockets up 110-105. The Jazz got no closer than five after that, and the crowd started chanting Artest's name before he made two free throws with 1:14 left to stretch the Rockets' lead to 114-107.

The Rockets played without Tracy McGrady, who was sidelined again with soreness in his left knee. The Jazz have their own injury issues -- Boozer has been out since Nov. 21 with a strained left quad, Okur has missed three straight games with back spasms and Millsap sat out the second straight game with a sprained left knee.

With Utah's top three big men sidelined, the Rockets dominated inside to open a 20-10 lead. Yao had seven points in the first seven minutes, including a dunk after a miss by Rafer Alston.

The Rockets hit 12 of 19 shots and outrebounded the Jazz 13-6 in the first quarter to lead 34-24.

Houston led 52-39 when Williams drove down the lane, collided with Yao and lost the ball. No foul was called, but Williams landed awkwardly and limped to the other end, apparently favoring his left knee. Utah coach Jerry Sloan called a timeout, but Williams stayed in the game.

Houston outrebounded Utah 26-12 in the first half and led 56-43 at the break. The Jazz did have one amazing statistic in the first half -- 17 assists on all 17 field goals. Andrei Kirilenko scored on a tip-in a minute into the second half to end the streak of assists.

Yao had a double-double through three quarters -- 18 points and 10 rebounds -- and Houston led 80-70 heading to the fourth.

Brewer scored two baskets in the first 50 seconds of the fourth to trim the deficit to six. Brent Barry and Artest sank 3-pointers over the next minute to put the Rockets up 86-74.

Houston then missed its next 10 shots over the next seven minutes and Utah cut the lead to 89-86 on Brewer's fast-break layup with 3:39 remaining. Utah could never take the lead in regulation, but Korver scored on a driving layup with 16.1 seconds left to cut Houston's lead to 95-94. The Jazz fouled Alston and he split two free throws to make it 96-94 with 15.4 seconds remaining.

Williams tied the game at 96-all on a drive with 12.8 seconds left and Artest missed a 3-point try off the front rim to force overtime.

Notes:@ Yao has 17 double-doubles this season. ... The Rockets' first-quarter point total was a season high. ... Utah had won four of its last five games at the Toyota Center, including last year's playoffs. ... The Rockets have won seven straight home games.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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