Victory blocked from Duncan, but not from the Jazz
Several players, including the return of Ronnie Brewer, contribute to pivotal 106-99 win
Posted: April 4, 2008 10:20 AM
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah- In a Western Conference race this close, the Utah Jazz need every single win coming down the stretch.
Not to mention every single one of their players- something that was helped with the return of Ronnie Brewer.
In a scramble to the finish that coming into the game placed the Jazz in a tie for fifth place, three games out of first in the conference, but four-and-a-half from the dreaded ninth spot, Brewer returned to give the Jazz a much-needed lift with seven points-including a dagger of a shot in the form of a three-pointer to give Utah a 100-97 lead with just two minutes left.
The shot contributed in a big way to a 106-99 victory that puts the Jazz (51-26) just a game-and-a-half from the Spurs’ (52-24) second-place slot.
“Deron, he’s just been able to find open guys all game… it felt good coming off, and it put us up by 3… it was pretty big, big for me and big for the team… I’m glad it went through,” said Brewer, who also said that he tried not to favor the groin during the game, and who also played limited minutes due to the nagging injury.
However, the limited minutes weren’t able to stop Brewer from coming through when it counted most.
With the game tied at 97, Spurs point guard Tony Parker fed Duncan in the post, with Mehmet Okur guarding him. Not known for his shot-blocking abilities, Okur promptly blocked Duncan’s field goal attempt, leading to a Jazz possession that saw point guard Deron Williams find Brewer on the wing for the tiebreaker.
“Memo” also added to his block with 15 points, not to mention a career-high of 30 from C.J. Miles, who just earlier this week tallied his previous career-high with 29 Monday against Washington.
“Some nights, the hole just looks big. Right from when I got put into the game in the first quarter, I felt good and shots were fallin’… D-Will found me for some good looks, “ said the 21-year-old Miles. Of his point guard running mate Williams, Miles said “he is definitely one of the top point guards in the league and the Western Conference… he has only been in the league a few years, but he definitely gets the plays going for us.”
Williams tallied 14 assists in addition to scoring 15 points.
His pick-and-roll partner Carlos Boozer also added 26 points and 12 rebounds.
“I’m proud of my guys for our defense… we made some big stops at the end… I was worried that we weren’t going to make the stops that we needed… but we ended up making the stops that we needed,” said Jazz coach Jerry Sloan, alluding to Okur’s big block on two-time MVP Duncan.