Guards: If John Stockton's back was bothering him he didn't let it show. He had a solid outing, scoring 14 points with seven assists and just one turnover in 30 minutes. Jeff Hornacek was quiet again - six points on 2-of-5 shooting - before leaving with a gash in his head after colliding with Bryon Russell. Hornacek did net four straight points in third to help Utah take control. Clyde Drexler scored 11 points but missed nine shots.
Forwards: Karl Malone played like and MVP in the second half when he scored 19 of his game-high 29 points to carry the Jazz. He was also agressive on the boards, finishing with 13 rebounds. Malone was a monster on defense, holding Kevin Willis to eight points on 3-of-13 shooting n 43 minutes. Charles Barkley was Houston's only effective forward, but he played just nine minutes because of an injury to his right shoulder. Barkley scored eight points.
Centers: Hakeen Loajuwon punished the Jazz in the paint in the first half. He had six points and six rebounds in the first quarter alone as the Rockets ran out to an 11-point lean. The Jazz turned the tides on the Dream in the second half, though. Greg Ostertag and company limited him to eight points and forced him to miss 11 of 15 second-half shots. Olajuwon had a team-high 27 but he didn't score in the fourth. Ostertag ended with five points, seven rebounds and three blocks.
Benches: The Jazz couldn't have asked for a better outing from their subs. Russell and Shandon Anderson were particularly effective, turning in 15 points apiece in very energetic performances. They kept Utah in the game in the second quarter and continued to give a spark after the half. Russell didn't play after he and Horny bashed heads and received stitches. The lineup of Anderson, Ostertag, Howard Eisley, Chris Morris and Antoine Carr turned a four-point lead into an 11-point edge in the third. Jazz subs outscored Houston's 44-17.
Coaching: Jerry Sloan must have given a stirring speech at halftime, because his troops came out and played like the No. 1 seed in the second half. Sloan gambled a bit in the third quarter, using five bench players in the lineup as Stockton and Malone rested. But it worked wonders as the subs gave the Jazz a double-digit lead. Sloan juggled the rotation a big, playing 10 different players for at least 13 minutes. Rudy Tomjanovich had the Rockets rarin' at first but they faded.