So much for Carlos Boozer's 30-point, 16-rebound double-double his second game with at least 30 points in as many outings this season.
So much for Deron Williams' 18-point, 13-assist double-double.
So much, too, for a 16-point, 10-board double-double from Mehmet Okur, who bounced back after going scoreless in Tuesday's season opener.
Even with those three posting such impressive totals, a one-man show with numbers for five easily trumped the Jazz in their 2007-08 NBA home opener Thursday night as Tracy McGrady finished with 47 points, hit 17-of-27 shots from the field and wound up with 14 rebounds as well to lead Houston past Utah 106-95 at sold-out EnergySolutions Arena.
"He was incredible," said Boozer, one of Jazz's co-captains. "He made shot after shot. What an amazing player."
"It's tough to stop a guy like that one of the superstars in the league," added Williams, the Jazz's other co-captain. "You know, him, Kobe (Bryant) are guys that can take over games."
McGrady did that just in response to a super start by the Jazz, who led by as many as a dozen points midway through the opening quarter.
Ronnie Brewer. Gordan Giricek. Andrei Kirilenko.
It really didn't matter who the Jazz tried on the Rockets swingman as McGrady scored 13 points in each of the first two periods, and had 36 as Houston headed into the final quarter up by 12 at 78-66.
Step-back jumpers. Slashing drives. Taunting treys.
You name it, McGrady hit almost at will.
"It's tough with T-Mac, because you double him (and) he's such a great passer (and) they have such great shooters around him," said Williams, who knows the Rockets star all too well after a opening-round playoff series last May that Utah won in seven games. "It's pretty much like 'pick your poison', so you've got to take one or the other.
"Some days we try to run and double him, get the ball out of his hands a little bit at the end of the game," Williams said. "But we maybe should try that a little sooner when a guy gets rolling, try to take it out of his hands to get him out of his rhythm."
Instead, McGrady moved and grooved at will while logging 40 minutes.
The Jazz's offense, meanwhile, sputtered after they twice got to within five points in the final quarter once when Okur knocked down a 3-pointer with just more than four minutes to go, and again when Boozer hit an 18-foot jumper to make it 94-89 Rockets with 3:26 remaining.
After McGrady converted two free throws to put Houston up 98-91 coming out of a timeout with 2:53 left, Utah came up blank on five of its next six possessions including an errant pass by Okur, a failed 20-foot jumper from Williams, an offensive foul on Boozer and missed trey tries by Okur and Williams.
"They were a lot tougher defensively," Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said. "They pushed us out on the floor ... They started stroking us, and we couldn't get anything inside very easily. From that point, we just started staying on the perimeter.
"We couldn't make one pass, then we'd try to go 1-on-1. Everyone tried to beat them by themselves," Sloan added. "Consequently, we had too many turnovers (20 in all) in the process and a lot of tough shots."
Boozer conceded that the Jazz "sometimes ... broke out of the offense a little bit," and Williams readily concurred.
"We didn't execute the way we wanted to," the Jazz's starting point guard said. "We didn't execute the way we did against Golden State (on Tuesday) got a little selfish, took some bad shots.
"A lot of it was their defense," Williams added. "But we settled for a lot of jumpers, we broke out of our offense. There was a lot of one-on-one basketball, and that's not us ... We've got to play as a team. We've got to pass the ball, share the ball."
Williams seemed confident the Jazz will get back to that soon, beginning with Saturday night's visit to EnergySolutions by the same Warriors club against which Utah opened its season with a victory.
"It's still early in the season, and we'll have time to work on our offense more in practice and these next couple games," Williams said. "We should be fine ... It's just one loss. We'll bounce back."We've got to forget it, man. It's a long season," he added. "You can't dwell on one loss here and there. You've got to move on."
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