Tuesday, April 26, 2005

jazzing you

The 2004-05 version of the Utah Jazz could probably best be summed up as “Team Jekyll and Team Hyde.” At the end of it all,utahjazz.com takes a look back at the ups and downs of the 2004-05 campaign – and why fans are already excited about next year.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Okur's putback with 2.4 left lifts Utah

by (AP), from ESPN.com
A healthy Tim Duncan is worth more to San Antonio than home-court advantage in the playoffs.

Duncan returned after missing 12 games with a sprained ankle and scored 17 points, but played just 3 minutes of the fourth quarter in the Utah Jazz's 93-91 win over the Spurs on Wednesday night.

The loss dropped the Spurs 1½ games behind Phoenix for the top record in the Western Conference. Phoenix has four games remaining to San Antonio's three, but the Spurs will happily settle for the No. 2 seed if they know Duncan is healthy.

"I don't want to fall for fool's gold now and put him in a position where that ankle's too weak and have something happen to him," San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said. "Sure we wanted to put him in, but I don't think that would have been wise."

The Spurs could have used Duncan in the final minute. Utah won it on Mehmet Okur's layup with 2.4 seconds remaining. San Antonio had a final chance, but Manu Ginobili missed a baseline jumper just before the horn.

Okur finished with 25 points and 16 rebounds and beat the Spurs for the second time this season. Okur also scored on an offensive rebound at the buzzer in January, snapping Utah's 18-game losing streak to San Antonio.

"That's my job. I try to grab every rebound," Okur said. "I was underneath. I just grabbed the ball and made the basket."

Duncan, who had seven rebounds, said the ankle felt "pretty good," but he was not on the court for the frenzied finish despite his best lobbying efforts.

"I was pushing for a little more time. Pop's the intelligent one and luckily he's the coach and I'm not," Duncan said. "I'm going to take my time and really get back into our rhythm and make sure that I'm not pushing it too hard and hurting myself."

Matt Harpring scored 17 points, including two critical free throws with 14 seconds left. Harpring put Utah up 91-88 and it looked like the Jazz had all but clinched it, until Ginobili went 1-for-2 from the line and Nazr Mohammed grabbed the rebound and dunked it to tie the game with 7.5 seconds to play.

Okur felt Mohammed knocked him down to get to the ball and remained on the floor for several moments, looking to the officials for a call he didn't get. He made sure it wouldn't matter at the other end.

Gordan Giricek, who scored 15 points, took the inbounds pass from Harpring and drove for a layup which was blocked by Robert Horry. Okur grabbed the loose ball and banked it in and Utah beat San Antonio for just the second time in 20 games.

"That was a fun game," Harpring said. "It's frustrating because you wonder why we can't play like this all the time."

Duncan played 20 minutes, 4 more than the Spurs wanted him to after his 3½-week layoff. But after San Antonio committed 10 fouls in the opening quarter and fell behind by 15 points early in the second, the Spurs needed the two-time MVP to help with the comeback.

"It was great just to get back on the floor and run up and down, even just for a little bit," Duncan said.

San Antonio got Utah's lead down to four twice before finally overtaking the Jazz early in the fourth quarter. Tony Parker, who had 17 points and five assists, converted a three-point play and Ginobili hit a 3-pointer just before the horn to get the Spurs to 68-65 at the end of the third.

Duncan made it a one-point game with a layup, then after Jarron Collins missed an open layup for Utah, Beno Udrih drove for a layup to give San Antonio its first lead since the opening quarter. Udrih quickly added another layup after a turnover, but Utah responded before San Antonio could pull away.

Okur converted a three-point play to tie it at 73 with 7:47 remaining, then spun under the basket for a reverse layup to regain the lead for Utah and get the small crowd back into the game. Howard Eisley added another layup and Giricek hit a short jumper to make it a 9-0 run.

Okur finally put Utah up for good at 89-88 with a 20-foot jumper with about a minute to play.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Lack Luster

Wednesday night the Utah Jazz dropped their eighth strait game on the road which blossoms (sarcasm) their road record for the season to a harmful 7–28. The loss was given by KG and the Timberwolves 111-86.

It is even more heartbreaking for head Coach Jerry Sloan. Sloan has three of his top scorers out, leaving him to turn to vet. Howard Eisley. Then some where along the lines in the first quarter Sloan thought it would be best to leave the game so he was ejected. (Sarcasm again)

The one bright spot for the Jazz was that Gordan Giricek and Matt Harpring both scored 14 points for the lack luster (23-51) Utah Jazz.