"Let's not get in that situation again," forward Andrei Kirilenko said. "I think everything is possible. It's possible to get back from 0-3, but it's better to get it straight away."
The Jazz consider their seven-game series win over the Rockets the propellant that boosted them to the Western Conference finals in 2007, yet they recognize they might have been a little lucky too. They don't want to be in the same must-win position this series.
"We have to win one," forward Carlos Boozer said of the first two games to be played in Houston. "We'd give them way too much confidence if that happens again. I think every team learns from their mistakes and I think we learned from that."
Utah had a chance for home-court advantage up until Wednesday's conclusion of the regular season. Obviously things didn't work out for the Jazz, but the way they see it, the advantage swings back in their favor if they can win at least one game in Houston.
"It's tough, but we went through it last year," center Mehmet Okur said. "Hopefully, we'll do a better job there and come back here with the advantage."
Winning the first game would take pressure off the Jazz, but Houston is going to be playing for the win just as hard, especially since the Rockets are probably still smarting from last year's collapse. Knowing that is why Boozer said getting the first game would be big for the Jazz.
"We have to start off Saturday with a great start," he said. "If we have a great first quarter, we have a chance to win that game. If we have a bad first quarter, it's going to be a dogfight, trying to come from behind."
After losing the first two games to the Rockets in the 2007 playoffs, the Jazz defended their court and evened the series. They narrowly lost Game 5 (96-92) in Houston, then won at home in Game 6 (94-82), keeping up the pattern of every game going to the home team.
That pattern finally was broken in Game 7 when the Jazz earned a 16-point lead and held on for their victory, which gave them their first playoff series victory since 2000.
"I remember watching that series. It was exciting and I remember a lot of energy and excitement," said Kyle Korver, who was a member of Philadelphia's team at the time. "We definitely want to start off better than 0-2, but it's something we can lean on and have confidence knowing we did that before."
They just don't want to have to do it again.
The Jazz rallied from an 0-2 deficit vs. Houston in the first round last season. However, in the past three NBA postseasons, the team that takes a 2-0 series lead wins 82 percent of the time:
Year Teams up 2-0 Adv. Win pct.
2007 11 9 81.8
2006 7 6 85.7
2005 10 8 80.0
Totals 28 23 82.1