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Rockets extend coach's contract

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HOUSTON, May 18 (UPI) -- The Houston Rockets gave Coach Jeff Van Gundy a one-year contract extension Wednesday, taking him through the 2007-08 season.

During his two years with the Rockets, Van Gundy has posted a 96-68 record. They reached the playoffs both seasons.

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"When I hired Jeff two years ago, I said that I wanted to bring in a championship-caliber coach," Rockets owner Leslie Alexander said. "Jeff has done a great job for us over the past two seasons and I wanted to reward him for his hard work and dedication.

"Jeff has a unique ability to get the best out of his players and I believe he has our team poised on the verge of returning to our championship form."

Houston won the first two games of its opening-round playoff series on the road, but then fell to Dallas in seven games. The Rockets lost by 40 points in the concluding game.

During the series, the NBA handed Van Gundy the largest fine a coach has ever received -- $100,000 -- for remarks critical to league officials.

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