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inaugural season of 1998, when they drew 2,506,293. Its

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    December 6, 2017 9:45 PM PST

    SALT LAKE CITY - Kobe Bryant might have called Dwight Howard soft but, just like the Lakers, the Utah Jazz had no one who could stop him. Alex Petrovic Jersey .Howard had 22 points and 10 rebounds and the Houston Rockets beat the Jazz 104-93 on Wednesday night to spoil Quin Snyders NBA coaching debut.Howard made six of his first seven shots, many on spin moves for dunks. He was feeling good and it showed.My health is pretty good and I am moving better, Howard said.James Harden added 18 points and 10 assists, and Trevor Ariza had 20 points for the Rockets, who opened the season Tuesday night in Los Angeles with a 108-90 victory over the Lakers.Howard said he knows its early in the season but hes not shy about sharing the Rockets aim this year.I think all of us have one goal and that is to win a championship. You can see that. The way we talk to each other, the way we push each other, Howard said.Alec Burks led Utah with 18 points. Derrick Favors added 16, and Trey Burke had 15.Houston made 14 of 27 3-point attempts and held Utah to 33 per cent shooting in the final quarter. The Jazz missed 13 of their first 15 fourth-quarter attempts, and the Rockets broke open the tight game with 18-5 run.We set the tone defensively and then everything else took care of itself, Ariza said. We have pretty good basketball IQ out there so that makes it easier, but were still learning how each other plays.The Rockets led by as many 13 in the third quarter before Burke led a furious Jazz rally that drew them to 75-72 by the end of the period. The Utah point guard had nine points during the surge that had the sellout crowd on its feet.The Jazz have been tabbed by many experts to finish at the bottom of the Western Conference but their hustle got under the skin of the Rockets at times.To simplify it, they got into the lane and they hit some 3s, Snyder said. We have got to be more one them.Howard committed six turnovers and fouled out late in the game. He had words for the officials as he slowly made his way to the bench.TIP-INSJazz: Utah shot 60 per cent in the first half and still trailed 58-50 due to the Rockets long-range accuracy. ... The Jazz had 13 offensive rebounds, forced 18 turnovers and led 62-44 in points in the paint but was outscored by 33 points on 3-pointers. ...Recent signee Joe Ingles had only one practice with Jazz but appeared in the second quarter and missed his only field goal.Rockets: Papanikolaou, the Greek player in his second NBA game, made his first four 3-point attempts. .. The win marks the first time since 2008-09 that the Rockets have opened with two straight double-digit wins.UP NEXTUtah is at Dallas on Thursday night.The Rockets host Boston on Saturday night. Jared McCann Jersey . -- Adam Tambellini scored three times and set up one more as the Calgary Hitmen won their sixth in a row by crushing the host Lethbridge Hurricanes 8-1 on Saturday in Western Hockey League play. Nick Bjugstad Jersey . Unfortunately for Toronto, that surge was too much to handle as the Stars scored six straight goals and ended the Marlies season with a 6-2 victory on Tuesday. Toronto had built a 2-0 lead on goals by Frazer McLaren and Peter Holland, but Texas charged back with a wild rally late in the second period to spark its trip to the Calder Cup final.In 2007, the Tampa Bay Devil Rays were in their second season under skipper Joe Maddon. They actually finished with a better record in ‘07 than they did in ‘06 but only marginally, going from 61 victories to 66. They had a slugging first baseman in Carlos Pena who ripped 46 homers and drove in 121 runs while batting .282. They also had an up-and-coming outfielder in B.J  Upton who hit  300 while ripping 24 homers and driving in 82 runs. The Devil Rays had two pitchers who managed to get into double digits in victories in James Shields who went 12-8 with a 3.85 ERA and left Scott Kazmir who racked up a 13-9 mark with a 3.48 earned run average. They also had a closer in Alberto Reyes who saved 26 games. Otherwise, it was pretty grim. They scored 782 runs but surrendered 944. The team ERA was a horrendous 5.53. Their attendance of 1,387,603 was the worst in the American League. Back-to-back years like ‘06 and ‘07 could have been enough to  cost some managers their jobs, but the Rays had a plan  and they also had some blue chip prospects on the way. In 2006, they drafted a highly regarded third baseman in Evan Longoria third overall,. In 2007 they grabbed hard throwing lefty David Price number one. Those were their best two picks since B.J Upton in 2002. In 2008 Tampa Bay got rid of the Devil and became simply known as the Tampa Bay Rays. The turnaround season was remarkable. They went from 66 victories to 97. They shaved their team ERA from 5.53 to 3.82. The Rays actually scored eight fewer runs in ‘08 than they did in ‘07, but they cut their runs against by 273 to 671. All five of their starters, James Shields, Edwin Jackson, Andy Sonnanstine, Matt Garza and Scott Kazmir -- all betweenn 24 and 26 years of age -- won in double digits with Shields and Jackson leading the way with 14 apiece. Four of the five pitched at least 183 innings. Shields had a staff high 215 and four of the five starters made at least 30 starts. They also added veteran closer Troy Percival who saved 28 games. He also had a great support staff in J.P Howell. Dan Wheeler and Grant Balfour who chipped in with 17 victories. Though Penas numbers dropped off a bit to a ,247 average with  31 homers and 102 runs batted in, Longoria emerged as a force with 27 homers and 85 RBIs while batting .272. Former Blue Jays rookie of the year Eric Hinskie chipped in with 20 homers and 60 runs batted in off the bench. The key though was pitching depth. That 2008 staff had eight pitchers who established themselves as manager league starters including&nbbsp; Shields, Garza, Jason Hammel, Jackson, Kazmir, Sonnanstine, Jeff Niemann and Price who pitched in relief late that season. Radim Vrbata Jersey. The 2008 Rays went all the way to the World Series where they lost to the Philadelphia Phillies in five. Over the last six seasons they have racked up a record of (550-423) and been to the post-season four times. The only thing that hasnt improved greatly is their attendance. The incredible season of 2008 boosted the turnstyle count by nearly half a million from the year before to 1,811,986. But by last season the numbers had diminished again to 1,510,300 -- the worst in the American League. The Rays has still never come close to matching the attendance figures of their inaugural season of 1998, when they drew 2,506,293. Its sad really, but at least it is living proof that a well managed, small market club can compete and in fact thrive in the American League East. The Blue Jays have the star power in Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion, some possible blue chippers in Brett Lawrie and Colby Rasmus, a decent bullpen and a couple of solid veteran pitchers in  R,A Dickey and Mark Buehrle. They just havent been able to stay healthy enough or keep grinding out pitching prospects the way the Rays have. Its still too early to predict how the A.L East is going to unfold in 2014, but in some circles, the Rays are already being called to win the division with the Blue Jays to finish last behind Baltimore. The Blue Jays are still waiting for some kind of solid return on the Roy Halladay trade. Back on December 16th of 2009,  they shipped "Doc" to the Phillies  for Kyle Drabek, Travis DArnaud and outfielder Michael Taylor. They wound up flipping Taylor to Oakland for Brett Wallace and then sent Wallace to Houston for Anthony Gose. The Astros designated Wallace for assignment this week when they signed veteran right hander Jerome Williams. Wallace never really developed as a hitter and didnt play well enough defensively at first or third. The Jays are still waiting for Drabek and Gose to arrive as major leaguers and DArnaud was used as part of the package to get R.A Dickey from the Mets. I bring all this up because Halladays illustrious career is now over.  The Phillies are going to honour him on their alumni weekend this summer during a series against the Mets. On Aug. 8 the Phils will hold a special ceremony for Roy and will give the fans a special Halladay bobblehead. That same weekend on Aug. 9, the Phillies will induct Charlie Manuel to their wall of fame. Cheap NFL Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys China Cheap Jerseys From China Cheap NFL Jerseys Authentic Wholesale Jerseys China Cheap NFL Jerseys China NFL Cheap Jerseys ' ' '