SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- The Utah Jazz were inches away from
But Bobby Simmons missed a layup just before the buzzer that
would have won it for the Los Angeles Clippers, and the Jazz had an
87-86 victory Monday night and their first winning streak in more
than a month.
"If they would have made that shot, I might have went crazy,"
said Utah's Keith McLeod, whose 18 points and eight assists were
nearly overshadowed by his two missed free throws down the stretch.
Utah was 23-for-23 from the line and McLeod had a chance to seal
it with 6.5 seconds to play, but he missed both attempts and the
Clippers got one final chance to win it.
Rick Brunson rushed the ball up the court for the Clippers and
the ball got through the lane to Simmons, who had a good look but
the ball bounced off the backboard and rim as the horn sounded.
"I just tried to put it as soft as I could off the glass and it
rolled back out," said Simmons, who scored 17 for the Clippers.
McLeod was relieved and his teammates were elated. Utah was
coming off a 99-92 win at Houston the night before and finally won
consecutive games for the first time since beating San Antonio and
Phoenix Jan. 10 and 12.
"That's fun. Those type of games are fun to play in, No. 1. And
even more fun to win. Because we had to fight to get it done,"
said Utah's Raja Bell, who had 14 points.
With the win, Utah's Jerry Sloan passed Dick Motta for seventh
in NBA coaching victories with 936. But Sloan knew he could have
just as easily remained tied with his former coach.
"They did everything they could to win the ballgame," said
Sloan, who played for Motta in Chicago. "You have to have a little
bit of luck, so we'll take that."
Rookie Kris Humphries pulled down a career-high 12 rebounds for
the Jazz, who will try to make it three straight when they host
Atlanta on Wednesday. Utah hasn't won more than two in a row since
opening the season with four straight wins.
Corey Maggette, who had 16 points for Los Angeles. Zeljko
Rebraca scored 12 off the bench and Elton Brand had 10 points and
eight rebounds for the Clippers, who have won just once in the
"I'm getting tired of them. It's those little plays here and
there that cost us the game," said
Although it was sloppy at times, the game was intense
throughout. Neither team led by more than nine and the teams went
back and forth with a one-point lead for the first half of the
The Clippers pulled ahead by three twice, but Bell made two free
throws and a jumper to give Utah an 82-81 lead that ended up
standing through the frenzied finish.
With about a minute left, Utah ate up about 40 seconds when
Jarron Collins and Bell both pulled down offensive rebounds that
allowed the Jazz to reset their offense and burn time. Utah finally
scored when Okur made an off-balance shot that bounced off the rim
three times before dropping.
Okur was fouled by Brunson on the play and made the free throw
to put Utah up 85-81 with 21.7 seconds remaining.
It looked like the Jazz had the game wrapped up, but Maggette
hit a 20-footer to get the Clippers to 85-83, then after McLeod hit
two free throws with 11.6 seconds left, Simmons made a 3-pointer to
make it 87-86.
The Clippers fouled and got a break when McLeod missed both his
free throws, but couldn't finish the comeback.
^Notes:@ The Clippers were outscored 12-3 to start the game, but
battled back and tied it at 20-20 on Simmons' three-point play with
23.9 seconds left in the first quarter. ... The Clippers picked up
veteran point guard Kenny Anderson earlier Monday. Anderson dressed
but did not play. ... Utah put up five airballs in the first half.
... Utah forward Carlos Boozer (foot) missed his fifth straight