Jazz rally after blowing 24-point lead
Jerry Sloan was annoyed when the Utah Jazz blew a huge lead Saturday and had to come from behind to win a game they had all but clinched.
When the Jazz did the same thing in a 112-104 win over the New York Knicks on Monday night, the Utah coach went from irked to concerned.
Utah led by 24 early in the fourth quarter, but for the second game in a row watched a big lead slowly erode into a deficit.
"We just kind of stood around and didn't execute our offense," Sloan said of the Jazz in the third quarter. "There's a difference between moving on it and just kind of flopping around."
Deron Williams had 24 points and 13 assists and Carlos Boozer added 21 points and 11 rebounds for the Jazz, who are becoming consistent in some very bad ways. Utah led Phoenix by 21 on Saturday, then needed to rally to beat the Suns in overtime.
"It's tough when you get up 20 against a team at home. You kind of relax a little bit and I think that's the case of the last two games," Williams said. "It's unfortunate that we couldn't get more rest like we wanted to and finished those games out early."
Utah won its 15th straight home game and tied Portland for fifth in the Western Conference standings. The Jazz visit the Trail Blazers on Tuesday night, one of six straight road games Utah has against teams that appear headed to the playoffs.
"We played really well at times and we played really poorly at times," said Utah's Kyle Korver, who had 16 points. "We can't have those lapses like we did."
Al Harrington scored 24 to lead the Knicks before getting ejected with two technicals for arguing a foul call with 22 seconds left. The Knicks were down six before Harrington's tirade allowed Korver to put away the game with two free throws for the technical fouls.
About an hour earlier, nobody would have expected the game to be remotely close at the end. But the Knicks outplayed the Jazz in the third quarter and even took a one-point lead late in the fourth before Utah regained its feet.
"The players really came out focused and did a great job the second half," New York coach Mike D'Antoni said. "The first half, we were just running in the mud and just didn't play well.
David Lee had 21 points and 10 rebounds, and Nate Robinson and Jared Jeffries scored 11 each for the Knicks.
Paul Millsap had 12 points and seven rebounds and Ronnie Brewer scored 17 for the Jazz, who survived another defensive collapse.
"We're going to score with the ball. We don't have a problem in that area," Williams said. "It's just getting stops that we've got to focus on."
Harrington hit a 3-pointer, Robinson added a free throw for a 3-second violation and Harrington added two more from the line during an 8-2 run that gave the Knicks the lead. Harrington's free throws got New York within 92-91, then Robinson stole the ball and broke for the basket, where he drew a foul from Williams.
Robinson hit both free throws and the Knicks were up 93-92 with 7:17 left. The Jazz fans who weren't booing were silent, stunned that Utah was behind in a game that seemed all but over just after halftime.
The Knicks' lead didn't last long. Williams drove through traffic for a layup and Paul Millsap made two free throws to get Utah going on an 11-3 run, which was too much for the Knicks to overcome this time.
Wilson Chandler's two free throws got New York within 108-104 with 30 seconds left, but Williams got the ball through a double-team to Korver, who was fouled and made both shots for a 110-104 lead with 22 seconds to go.
Harrington was called for an offensive foul on the inbounds play and got a technical for arguing, then another for continuing with the tirade.
The Knicks had stormed back in the third quarter, outscoring Utah 32-19 on 10-for-17 shooting. Harrington had nine points during the period as the Knicks got within 86-78 entering the fourth.
"We had a terrific half, showed a lot of character and played extremely well in the second half," Harrington said. "We played as hard as we could and when you play that hard you usually make good plays."
The Jazz outrebounded the Knicks 25-16 in the first half. ... Williams' eight assists in the first half were one fewer than the Knicks had as a team. ... The Jazz were 14-for-20 in the first quarter. ... The Knicks finished 25-for-34 from the foul line. ... Knicks G Larry Hughes strained his right ankle in the second quarter and did not return. ... D'Antoni was called for a technical as the officials reviewed whether Williams was attempting a 3-pointer with 1.8 seconds left in the first half. Williams was inside the line, but with the technical got three foul shots anyway and made them all to give the Jazz a 67-46 lead at halftime.