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
"We had to win this one," Utah point guard John Stockton
"I think everybody realized it would be one insurmountable lead
if they went up 3-0."
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
"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
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
with 5:14 left.
Harpring finished with 11 points.
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
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
scored 23 points and Webber had 24 points and 11
rebounds after being questionable for the game with a sore lower
"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
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.