Patterson Returns; Blazers Lose to Jazz
Utah 98, Portland 93
PORTLAND, Ore., Dec. 4 (Ticker) -- After Ruben Patterson created some chaos, Mehmet Okur and Andrei Kirilenko restored order.
Okur scored 10 of his 28 points in the fourth quarter and Kirilenko made a tiebreaking four-point play - his only basket of the game - as the Utah Jazz recovered for a 98-93 victory over Patterson and the Portland Trail Blazers.
"It was a good win for us tonight," Okur said. "We knew that they would come out hard, playing a couple of games at home. It's nice to get back on the winning side."
Known as "Captain Chaos" for his reckless hustle, Patterson was activated for the first time since November 21, when he was sent home after the opener of a seven-game road trip for a profanity-laced outburst over playing time directed at coach Nate McMillan during a game at New York.
During his inactivity, the troublesome veteran forward reiterated his request for a trade and threatened the team to keep him inactive for the rest of the season if he did not play 25 minutes per game.
McMillan called those "starter's minutes" and is committed to a youth movement. Patterson was allowed to return to active status after agreeing to unspecified rules regarding his behavior.
"I'm going to keep my mouth shut and I'm not saying anything else," Patterson said. "I apologized for what I did in New York. They accepted my apology and they all missed me."
In his first game back, Patterson seemed like his old self as he collected 19 points on 8-of-10 shooting and sparked a third-quarter rally that gave Portland a 73-70 lead entering the final period.
"Patterson came in the ballgame and really gave them some energy," Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said. "I didn't know if we were going to be able to shut him down. Fortunately, we were able to stay with it and not panic."
"You guys saw me out there - it's like I ain't miss a beat," Patterson said. "It felt good to be back on the court. I haven't played that hard for two weeks."
Playing 27 minutes, Patterson had a remarkable flying follow dunk over Kirilenko early in the fourth quarter to keep the lead at 75-72. But Okur scored six points in a 9-0 burst that gave Utah an 81-75 advantage with 8:32 to go.
"I felt good tonight," said Okur, who made 12-of-18 shots. "My teammates were looking for me out there. I made a few easy layups and I started the game with a few good shots and that got me going."
"The thing is Mehmet is just a terrific shooter," Sloan said. "If we can get him shots and good looks at the basket, he's a guy that can make the shot."
A blind overhead pass by a driving Patterson found Sebastian Telfair for a 3-pointer that gave the Trail Blazers an 85-85 tie with 4:17 left. But Kirilenko answered with a 3-pointer while drawing a foul from Zach Randolph, and his free throw gave the Jazz the lead for good at 89-85 with 2:54 remaining.
"It was a important shot, no doubt," said Kirilenko, who was 1-of-4 from the field. "But I think Devin (Brown) created such penetration that I couldn't miss. They'd shoot me dead."
A follow shot by Randolph, who scored 18 points, cut the deficit to 93-91 with 1:02 to play. Harpring drilled a 3-pointer 21 seconds later and Milt Palacio sealed it with a driving layup with 15 seconds left.
Gordan Giricek scored 15 points for the Jazz, who shot 53 percent (35-of-66) and made 24-of-29 free throws.
Telfair scored 19 points and teenage rookie Martell Webster added 10 in a starting role for the Blazers, who shot 43 percent (32-of-75). Portland has yet to score 100 points this season.
Webster started for Darius Miles, who was placed on the inactive list after team doctors learned that the forward has a cartilage tear in his right knee.
"We sent him for an MRI and our doctors basically saw something that needed to be looked at," McMillan said. "It may be a situation where he may be out for a period of time. We're going to get a second opinion and then make a decision."
Miles leads the team in scoring at 18.2 points. His absence should mean more minutes for Patterson.
"It's going to be a tough loss for sure," Patterson said. "That doesn't mean anything to me about my playing time. I'm still just going to go out there and bring the same energy when my number is called."