SALT LAKE CITY (AP)—After struggling with his shot all night, Deron Williams found his touch just in time.
Williams’ fadeaway jumper with 2.2 seconds left lifted Utah to an 88-86 win over the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday night, getting the Jazz back in the first-round playoff series they opened with two losses.
Williams took the shot instead of passing to Carlos Boozer on the Jazz’s staple pick-and-roll, hitting just his third field goal of the night and reviving Utah’s postseason hopes.
“I just wanted to make up for it a little bit on that last shot,” said Williams, who finished with 13 points and nine assists.
Boozer led the Jazz with 23 points and tied a franchise playoff record with 22 rebounds as Utah dominated the boards 55-40.
Instead of falling behind 3-0, the Jazz will have a chance to tie it at home again Saturday in Game 4.
After shooting 58 percent in first two games, the Lakers were 32-for-87 in Game 3. Los Angeles still had a chance to win at the buzzer, but Kobe Bryant’s 3-pointer missed and the Lakers’ hopes of a sweep and a long rest before the second round were done.
Bryant managed to score 18 points despite going 5-for-24 from the floor.
“I just didn’t shoot the ball well,” Bryant said. “They mixed it up on defense and I didn’t do a good job taking advantage of it. It was a combination of those two things.”
Lamar Odom led the Lakers with 21 points and 14 rebounds, and Bryant scored 18 despite going just 5-for-24 from the floor. Pau Gasol added 20 points and nine rebounds for the Lakers, who faced much tighter defense than Utah had played in the first two games.
“I thought we attacked them a little bit instead of letting them do what they wanted each time,” Utah coach Jerry Sloan said. “We got into them a little bit.”
The Jazz played again without Mehmet Okur, who has been out with a strained right hamstring, but survived without their second-leading scorer and outlasted the Lakers in a wild one.
Both teams were sporadic, excelling one quarter and stalling the next. Utah regrouped after scoring just 17 in both the second and third quarters with an inspired fourth, outscoring the Lakers 28-18 and retaking the lead every time Los Angeles tied it down the stretch.
“This is more of our type of game, a grind-it-out defensive game,” Williams said. “I thought we played a lot better defense as the score indicates and the field-goal percentages.”
Odom tied it at 82 on a layup with 1:07 left, then Boozer put Utah back up with a layup 20 seconds later. Bryant tied it again with 28 seconds to go, then Boozer spun around Gasol for a dunk to give Utah the lead again with 16.9 seconds to go.
Gasol matched Boozer’s dunk with his own to tie it again at 86 with 11.7 seconds remaining. After a timeout, Williams came through with a jumper when the Lakers expected the usual pass.
“They were doing a good job smothering him on the pick-and-rolls and they went with me that time and he hit a big shot,” Boozer said.
Williams finished 3-for-7 and was just 7-for-12 from the foul line, but had more support Thursday than he had in the first two games of the series. Ronnie Brewer scored 12, Paul Millsap pulled down 14 rebounds and reserves Kyle Korver and Matt Harpring led the Jazz during a rally early in the fourth quarter to regain the lead after falling behind by 13.
Korver finished with 11 points and Harpring scored 10.
“Those guys coming off the bench really hurt us,” Lakers coach Phil Jackson said.
After scoring 41 in the first quarter Tuesday in Los Angeles, the Lakers had just 17 in the opening period in Game 3. They were able to overcome that by rattling the Jazz in the middle two quarters and opening the third period on a 15-1 run, starting with a 3-pointer by Bryant.
Los Angeles hit 10 of its first 15 shots in the period and led 68-60 entering the final quarter.
Korver hit a 3-pointer late in the third to get the Jazz back within single digits, then Utah opened the fourth 5-for-5 during a 15-4 run to reclaim the lead. Williams made two foul shots to cut it to 72-71, then Harpring put Utah up by a point with a dunk at the end of a fast break.
Bryant tried to take over for the Lakers, but was called for an offensive foul when he ran into Millsap while driving to the basket, then was called for his fourth foul less than a minute later at the other end. Bryant tried another drive and this time Millsap swatted the shot away.
“A lot of things didn’t click for him tonight but that happens to everybody,” Jackson said. “He made some plays down the stretch to give us a chance.”
Former Jazz G John Stockton, elected to the Hall of Fame earlier this month, attended and got a standing ovation during a time out in the second quarter when he was shown on the monitor above the court. … Boozer tied Karl Malone’s Jazz record for rebounds in a playoff game. … The Lakers forced Utah into 16 turnovers.