Houston • At the beginning of November, the Jazz faced an intimidating schedule with guarded enthusiasm. Twelve of their first 18 games would be on the road, and they embraced it as an opportunity to make an early statement about the kind of team they would be.
That brutal stretch is finally behind them after another rally fell short Saturday, this time in a 124-116 loss to the Houston Rockets in front of 14,432 at the Toyota Center. The Jazz (9-9) have aged in the past month.
They’re tempestuous and tormented. Missed opportunities litter the cities where they’ve traveled like bread crumbs, left behind as they faltered first in New Orleans then Memphis and withered down the stretch in Boston; as they overcame large deficits only to fall behind anew in San Antonio, Philadelphia and Oklahoma City.
“I thought we were in several games that we didn’t finish,” Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said.
Add one more to that list.
Saturday the Jazz, playing without Marvin Williams and Derrick Favors, twice came back from 10-point deficits to take the lead or tie the game against the Rockets (8-8). The Jazz went on a 12-2 run in the fourth quarter behind a group that included rarely-used players Alec Burks and Jeremy Evans, tying the game at 107 on a 3-pointer by Randy Foye with 5:38 remaining.
However, the Rockets closed the game on a 17-9 run, including — at one point — an 11-4 run that put the game out of reach.
It was merely a continuation of the theme of the game: The Rockets shot 55.4 percent from the field, negating the Jazz’s own impressive effort, in which they shot 51.1 percent and made 11 of 20 3-pointers.
“I feel that we’re a better defensive team than we showed,” Burks said.
However, for the second night in a row, the game swung on what the Jazz considered to be a missed call by the referees.
In Friday’s 106-94 loss in Oklahoma City, Russell Westbrook stole the ball from behind Earl Watson and Tyrone Corbin received a technical foul arguing for a foul.
Saturday, on the second end of the back-to-back, the play came with the game tied at 107 with 4:36 remaining. A pass by Mo Williams appeared to be deflected by Houston point guard Jeremy Lin’s foot. However, the play was allowed to continue and Williams, bewildered by the absence of a kicked ball call, intentionally fouled Lin to stop the play and argue. The play led to two free throws for Lin and kicked off Houston’s final run.Next Page »