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Jazz expect playoff atmosphere against Rockets

Published: Wednesday, March 20 2013 2:30 p.m. MDT

FILE -- Houston Rockets shooting guard James Harden (13) as the Utah Jazz are defeated by the Houston Rockets 125-80 in NBA basketball Monday, Jan. 28, 2013, in Salt Lake City. The Jazz play a crucial game with playoff implications tonight in Texas.

Tom Smart, Deseret News

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HOUSTON — Many times over the years, the Utah Jazz and Houston Rockets have played each other in the playoffs, most recently in 2007 and 2008, which the Jazz won in seven and six games, respectively.

The two teams are unlikely to meet in this year’s playoffs, but Wednesday night’s game at the Toyota Center (7 p.m.) is expected to have a playoff atmosphere, at least according to Jazz coaches and players.

“This is a big game for us and a big game for them and I expect a playoff-type atmosphere tonight,’’ said Mo Williams.

“Each and every game is huge and tonight is another one of those games that can have more than a one-game implication for us," said coach Tyrone Corbin. "I expect it to be hugely intense … the race for positioning to get in the playoff for us and for them to maintain where they are and the implications of the tiebreaker."

The Jazz (34-33) trail the Rockets (36-31) by two games in the standings and can move within one game with a victory.

There’s been a lot of talk about the last time the two teams played and how the Rockets laid a 45-point beating on the Jazz on Utah’s floor and how they seemingly poured it on by making eight 3-pointers in the fourth quarter of a blowout victory.

The Jazz are trying to downplay that, even if they might secretly harbor some resentment over the way they were beaten.

“At the level, nobody’s going to feel sorry for you," said Corbin. “They shoot 3-point shots, they continue to shoot them and make them because they were winning the game and there’s time on the clock — we can’t expect them not to shoot they were shooting them and making them."

“I think they looked at it like we’ve got to play these guys again and take these guys out right now and shake their confidence," said Paul Millsap. “If it was us, we’d probably do the same thing. I’m not saying it was wrong or right. It’s what they did."

Mo Williams agreed, saying, “I’d expect them to, if I’m in the same position I’d do the same thing. We know what they did to us back at our place we’ll be ready to play."

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