Jazz Run Down Kings
Utah 89, Sacramento 79
SALT LAKE CITY, Feb. 3 (Ticker) -- Andrei Kirilenko and the Utah Jazz turned on both the offense and defense in the final period.
Kirilenko scored 14 of his 24 points in the fourth quarter and the Jazz held the Sacramento Kings to only 12 free throws in the period en route to an 89-79 victory.
"We never put our heads down tonight," said Palacio, who shot 8-of-15 from the field. "They went up 12 at the beginning of the fourth, but we kept our heads up and guys kept rallying around each other. We just played unbelievable defense."
The fourth quarter was horrific for Sacramento, which was outscored, 34-12, and scored all of its points from the free-throw line while going 0-of-20 from the field. The Kings also committed seven of their 18 turnovers in the period.
"I am very disappointed how we played in the fourth quarter," Kings coach Rick Adelman said. "They were the aggressor and they took the game over and we just caved in. We turned it over, and we just waited for something to happen instead of trying to make something happen."
The Kings' performance in the fourth quarter was one of the worst in team history. The club had not gone an entire quarter without a field goal since February 7, 1987 against the Los Angeles Lakers.
Sacramento held a 56-53 advantage with just under three minutes left in the third quarter before adding to its lead with an 11-2 spurt.
The Jazz trailed, 69-56, with 10:16 remaining before storming back with a 13-2 surge to get within one possession at 71-70. Kirilenko scored six points during the run.
"A win is a win, whether you win ugly or win great," said Jazz forward Matt Harpring, who scored six points. "We didn't play well in the first half, but we started getting our energy back in the second half. And one of the keys to our team is having good energy on both ends of the floor."
Kirilenko's huge block on Ron Artest sparked a fast break that resulted in a layup by Harpring with 6:06 left, tying the game at 72-72.
"We got on the floor and had a meeting and told guys to push the ball in the fourth quarter, everybody's tired, so now we can get an advantage on them," said Kirilenko, who made 16-of-17 free throws. "So we started running."
Artest aggravated a right hip injury on the play and briefly went to the locker room before returning to the bench. But he never entered the game thereafter.
"For some reason, I just couldn't move," said Artest, who had 20 points and seven rebounds.
"Obviously, Ron is a big part of Sacramento right now, but even if he had been on the floor, I think we would have won this game," Kirilenko added.
Kirilenko gave Utah a 78-74 bulge after scoring on a driving layup with just over two minutes to play. After Mike Bibby made a pair of free throws, Palacio answered with a layup that rolled around the rim twice before dropping in to make it 84-77 with 56 seconds to go.
"My biggest thing was just trying to be aggressive, and that's what I was trying to do," said Palacio, who added four steals. "I knew tonight I was getting to the basket pretty good, so I just kept going."
Rookie Deron Williams and Kirilenko made two free throws apiece in the waning seconds to seal the victory.
Mehmet Okur scored 15 points and Williams contributed 11 off the bench for the Jazz, who shot 39 percent (27-of-68) from the field and held a 44-30 edge in points in the paint.
Bibby scored 15 points and Shareef Abdur-Rahim added 14 for Sacramento, which shot 34 percent (25-of-73) and made just 4-of-14 from behind the arc.