Williamsí Shot Helps Jazz Beat Clippers
Utah 105, L.A. Clippers 103
SALT LAKE CITY, March 3 (Ticker) -- Deron Williams wasted very little time atoning for a rookie mistake.
Williams made a tough running banker with 2.4 seconds left to give the Utah Jazz to a 105-103 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers, who remain hexed at the Delta Center.
"They're a really good team," Boozer said. "All we could do was do our best to hold them off. I thought we did a good job, and D-Will made a hell of a shot."
"I didn't call it, but I meant to bank it. That was the best chance of it going in," Williams said.
The Jazz never trailed but squandered a 13-point fourth-quarter lead as the Clippers rallied behind All-Star Elton Brand, who had 31 points - including 14 in the fourth quarter - and five blocks. Brand had four free throws and a hook before his block on Milt Palacio led to Vladimir Radmanovic's 3-pointer that made it 98-97 with 1:27 remaining.
"They hit some big shots, we couldn't get any stops, and it was looking ugly for us," Williams said.
"Our execution down the stretch was great, but I'm wondering where that was early on because that's what we should have been doing from the get-go," Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy said.
Just 19 seconds later, Williams found Okur for a dunk. Corey Maggette answered with an inside bucket, but Okur drained a 3-pointer for a 103-99 lead with 34 seconds to go.
"(I was) feeling great," said Okur, who made 11-of-16 shots. "We're up 10, then they catch us. They hit me, I was open and I just hit the shot."
Brand scored quickly, then smothered another drive by Palacio and called timeout. The Clippers went to savvy veteran Sam Cassell, who used a hesitation dribble to draw a perimeter foul on Williams with 9.7 seconds left. After Cassell made both free throws to tie the game, the Jazz did not call timeout. Williams dribbled quickly upcourt, drove into the lane and put in a banker from about 10 feet that brought a roar from the sellout crowd of 19,911.
"I fouled him bad foul. I had to make up for it," Williams said. "Nine seconds left, I had to make something happen. I just came down and got a shot off."
Out of timeouts, the Clippers inbounded to Cassell, whose desperation 55-footer hit the front of the rim. The Jazz had lost three-straight home games, including an embarrassing 104-89 loss to Charlotte on Wednesday. Friday's game was a different story as Utah shot nearly 48 percent (40-of-84) and turned the ball over just eight times.
"It was terrible. We needed to stop that skid," said Williams, who had 10 points and seven assists. "Three straight home losses ... We've struggled at home all year and we should be better than that at home. We've got to bring a different intensity and a different energy level, just like tonight."
Devin Brown scored 16 points off the bench for the Jazz, who made 7-of-12 3-pointers. Jarron Collins added 12 points and 10 boards. Radmanovic had 17 points and 13 rebounds and Cassell added 16 points for the Clippers (33-24), who had a three-game winning streak snapped. They have won just once in 28 trips to the Delta Center since it opened in 1991. Playing just his ninth game of the season since returning from a hamstring injury suffered in training camp, Boozer notched his second double-double in three contests. He is averaging 12.0 points and 11.4 rebounds in his last five contests.
"I felt good. I'm just getting back into the swing of things and getting my rhythm back a little bit, being out there with the guys," Boozer said. "More importantly, we got a big win tonight."
Maggette was playing for the first time since December 5, missing 39 games with a ligament injury in his left foot. He came off the bench to score 12 points, making just 3-of-11 shots in 25 minutes.
"It's good to be back on the floor," he said. "I'm just trying to work my way back in and get accustomed to playing with the guys again. I mean, I've been off for three months. (The foot) feels fine. It's just like, man, we're back to all this running again. But it was good just running and attacking the basket tonight."
Brown scored 13 points and Okur 11 in the first half as Utah opened a 53-43 lead. Two free throws by Okur made it 84-71 with 8:45 to go before the Clippers began their comeback.