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Utah 107, Sacramento 104
Inspired Jazz Edge Kings in Game 3

Greg Ostertag doubled up Saturday with 22 points and 12 boards.
Kent Horner/NBAE/Getty Images

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SALT LAKE CITY, April 26 (Ticker) -- With the Utah Jazz fighting for their playoff lives, Greg Ostertag had the game of his life.

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Ostertag had a playoff career-high 22 points along with 12 rebounds and five blocks to lead the Jazz to a 107-104 victory over the Sacramento Kings in Game Three of their Western Conference first-round series.

Utah lost the first two games of the series and avoided falling into a 3-0 hole, which no team ever has recovered from in the NBA postseason.

"We had to win this one," Utah point guard John Stockton said. "I think everybody realized it would be one insurmountable lead if they went up 3-0."

Karl Malone had 20 points and 11 rebounds but it was Ostertag who made an unlikely difference.

The eight-year veteran, who has had a tumultuous career with Utah, made 6-of-16 shots from the floor and 10-of-14 free throws. He shot just 51 percent from the line during the regular season.

"Right place, right time," Ostertag said. "Most of my points came off passes from guys and I was getting the open shots. For the most part guys were finding me and it was a team effort."

"Greg played tremendous, he was alive, he went after the ball," said Utah coach Jerry Sloan, who was ejected for arguing late in the third quarter. "It's great for him. He deserves the credit he is getting because he is playing so hard. I don't think I've seen him play this hard in his career."

Ostertag turned his ankle early in the fourth quarter but shook of the injury to score 10 points in the decisive period. He made 1-of-2 free throws to give the Jazz their largest lead at 83-76 with 10:42 remaining.

But the Kings scored 12 of the next 15 points, highlighted by five from Bobby Jackson, and took an 88-86 lead on a dunk by Keon Clark with 6:50 remaining.

The teams exchanged the lead twice and were tied three times before Utah took the lead for good at 92-90 on a jumper by Matt Harpring with 5:14 left.

Harpring finished with 11 points.

Andrei Kirilenko made two free throws and, after Sacramento's Chris Webber made 1-of-2 from the line, Malone buried a jumper for a 96-91 lead with 4:08 remaining.

Ostertag made two free throws for a 98-93 lead with 3:47 left. Utah buried 7-of-8 free throws in the final two minutes, including 4-of-4 by Stockton.

"It was a big game but in the series you have to win four," Ostertag said. "We have to come back with the same energy and the same intensity we come with tonight."

"The series wasn't over, that is all I heard about," Sacramento coach Rick Adelman said. "We knew they were going to come out and attack us and we were going to have to respond and we didn't do it."

Stockton and Calbert Cheaney scored 15 points apiece for the Jazz, who benefited from questionable officiating.

Utah outscored Sacramento, 35-20, at the line as it attempted 49 free throws. The Kings saw Webber and Jackson foul out in the final two minutes.

"The refs need to see both sides of the game," Jackson said. "They can play physical, but we can't play physical. It's ridiculous. I'd rather have high school refs than NBA refs."

"The aggressive team gets the plays and gets they calls and (the Jazz) are agressors," Adelman said. "They shot 20 free throws in the fourth quarter. That just goes to show they were working hard. They kept getting to the line and we couldn't make the stops."

Mike Bibby scored 23 points and Webber had 24 points and 11 rebounds after being questionable for the game with a sore lower back.

"I was real tentative before the game. It was like walking on egg shells," he said. "I was able to play and take some hits and keep playing. I think I could've gotten a lot more rebounds tonight."

Peja Stojakovic scored five of his 19 points in the opening five minutes as the Kings jumped out to their largest lead at 15-6. But Cheaney scored nine points in the first quarter, which the Jazz closed with a 24-11 run.

Utah reeled off 10 straight points bridging the first two quarters and took its largest lead at 36-26 on Mark Jackson's 3-pointer with 10:19 to go. Webber scored 10 points in the second quarter as Sacramento pulled within 59-55 at halftime.

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