These two teams have quite a bit of history between them.
The Jazz and Rockets rivalry is one that dates back quite awhile. The two teams haven’t played each other in a series this decade, but that doesn’t mean that the two suddenly love each other.
While the players have changed and upper management has too since the last playoff series between the two, there is still some unfinished business for the Rockets that can be resolved this season.
The Rockets are currently losers of four playoff series in a row against the Jazz. That is unacceptable and they are looking to change that now.
Let’s begin with the two losses in the ’90s:
1997 and 1998
The series in 1997 is the main focus of this section. In this series, John Stockton of the Jazz hit a 3 at the buzzer to send them to the NBA Finals. This heartbreaking defeat resulted in the Rockets not reaching the Finals for the third-straight year. However, the Jazz did get handled by Michael Jordan and the Bulls.
In 1998, the Rockets gave the Jazz a good fight as the No. 8 seed in the West. Unfortunately, injuries and aging stars came into play during this series and the Jazz won it 3-2.
2007 and 2008
The Rockets and Jazz renewed their rivalry 10 years later when the teams met in two first-round matchups. The Jazz won the first series 4-3 and the second series 4-2 on the backs of Deron Williams and Carlos Boozer.
The games were mostly well-contested and featured some great performances from the superstars. Unfortunately, the Rockets were on the losing end.
Now, 10 years after the last series against Utah (is this becoming a thing?), Houston has a chance to redeem themselves. They started that process today, winning Game 1 of the series pretty handily. Will the top-seeded Houston be able to complete the series victory?
The rivalry started to come back last season when former player Vernon Maxwell tweeted this:
I'd like 2 apologize Jazz fans that were offended by my tweets. If I knew u guys had internet in Utah I would've never made those tweets.
— Vernon Maxwell (@VernonMaxwell11) March 9, 2017
That’s one way to bring back old feelings!