Held to a modest output through three quarters, Stojakovic came
through for the Sacramento Kings in the fourth quarter Friday
night, scoring 13 of his 24 points in the final five minutes to
help hold off a Utah rally and beat the Jazz 100-93.
"I was awful in the first half," Stojakovic said. "I just
didn't know what went wrong. I was getting impatient, but we won."
Stojakovic, who missed all four of his shots in the first half,
made seven straight free throws in the final 2:37 for the Kings,
who won for the eighth straight time in Utah.
Mike Bibby led the Kings with 25 points, and Bobby Jackson, who
missed the previous game with bronchitis, added 22.
"We just played hard," Bibby said. "We got some stops when we
needed to, and they were fighting hard, coming back tough, and we
still stuck in there and held our heads together and pulled it
Raja Bell led the Jazz with 17 points off the bench, including
six in a 1:37 span of the fourth quarter to give the Jazz an 87-86
lead with 2:56 remaining.
The Jazz managed only two baskets the rest of the way, however,
and both came in the final 25 seconds.
"We broke down a little bit on the defensive end," Utah's Matt
Harpring said. "They're a good team ... and when we have a little
mistake on defense, they really exploit it, and that's what makes
them a good team."
The Jazz committed 17 turnovers, while the Kings had only four.
"We are one of the best teams in the league at taking care of
the ball," Jackson said. "When we take care of the ball and run
our sets, then we can get anything we want."
The Jazz made up a nine-point deficit in the first half of the
fourth quarter, tying the game at 79-79 on Ostertag's three-point
play with 5:41 left. But Jackson answered with a 3-pointer, and
Stojakovic intercepted a pass on Utah's next possession and
streaked in for a breakaway dunk that gave the Kings an 84-79 lead.
The Jazz lost for the fourth time in six games. They also lost
center Curtis Borchardt, who broke his left wrist when he fell hard
to the floor over Jackson on a drive to the basket in the second
Borchardt missed all of last season with a broken foot, and five
games this season with a broken finger.<
^Notes@: The Jazz's Carlos Arroyo started at point guard after
missing eight games with a sprained ankle. He had two points and
four assists in 16 minutes. ... Sacramento's Brad Miller picked up
a technical foul with 4:01 left in the first quarter for tripping
Harpring after missing a rebound. ... It was the Jazz's third loss
in 14 home games. ... The Jazz committed 29 fouls, compared to 18
by the Kings. ... Friday was Utah's last home game until Dec. 26.
The Jazz open a six-game road trip Sunday in Philadelphia.