A lot of teams would be talking about needing to spread the ball around more after one man got 30 shots and 45 points, more than three times as much as his closest teammate, and his team lost by two.

Not the defending NBA World Champion Houston Rockets, who on Thursday night in the Delta Center got 45 from Hakeem Olajuwon (20-for-30 shooting) and 14 from Kenny Smith but seven from Clyde Drexler and just 15 points on those bread-and-butter three-pointers in a 102-100 loss.The Rockets didn't seem a bit worried about being one-dimensional or about being down one game in a best-of-five series.

It was Houston's first playoff game in defense of its 1994 championship, its fourth straight loss and fourth straight loss to the Jazz.

"We take what the defense gives us," said Rocket coach Rudy Tomjanovich. "Fifty-five percent (on field goals) and Dream (Olajuwon) having a big game inside, if I could have that kind of offense every game, I don't care who scores for the Rockets as long as the guy's wearing our jersey."

"It's a spontaneous game," said Drexler. "You can't predetermine it. When a guy is playing lights-out, you've got to give him the ball, so you kind of sacrifice your game for the good of the team.

"You can't worry about getting other guys into the offense. You just give the guy the ball and get back on defense," said Drexler following his first playoff game as a Rocket.

"They don't seem to have an answer for him," Drexler said of Olajuwon, "so we just kept going to him. He was shooting extremely well and making it look easy."

"I think I did my best," said Olajuwon, who averaged 37.5 against the Jazz in four regular-season games with a high of 40 during the regular season.Olajuwon said he was mentally focused into the game and the straight shooting "just came naturally.

"You cannot play a perfect game," he said. "You always see things you can do better."

He was not particularly pleased that the box score said he shot 67 percent from the field and scored 45 percent of his team's offense. "No, we didn't win," he said.

"You look at a game like this," Olajuwon said. "It's a golden opportunity for us. This was our game. It was there," he said, "but that's why you play a five-game series."

The Rockets led by 11 on an Olajuwon hook late in the third quarter after being down 11 midway through the second quarter. They led 98-97 on an Olajuwon 19-footer with 1:40 left and were tied at 100 with :17.9 left before John Stockton's layup eluded half-a-dozen Houston defensive hands with :02.9 left and Vernon Maxwell's 25-footer missed.

Olajuwon had eight rebounds and Pete Chilcutt nine, but the Jazz outboarded Houston 42-31.

NOTES - The Jazz are thinking championship. They had some role models in the audience Thursday night. There was Jim Harrick, coach of the NCAA-champion UCLA Bruins, sitting with BYU coach Roger Reid and former Utah State coach and athletic director Rod Tueller; Harrick's in town to speak to high school coaches today. And there were Megan and Greg Marsden, coaches of the 1994 and 1995 NCAA-champion Utah women's gymnastics teams, sitting with friends and sons Dakota and Montana.




A game story, box score and 71 live score updates for Thursday night's Jazz-Houston game were available immediately online.