SALT LAKE CITY (AP)—For the Jazz, just getting a win in front of their fans was more than enough.
Al Jefferson(notes) scored 27 points and Raja Bell(notes) had two crucial jumpers and a steal in overtime to help the Utah Jazz hold off the Sacramento Kings 109-102 Saturday night to stop their home losing streak at seven games.
“Oh man, to get a win, in any kind of way, is a sense of relief for us,” said coach Ty Corbin, who won his first home game as head coach. “The guys have been busting their butts, and it’s good to finally get a reward at the end.”
“Everybody in the gym knew they were going to Jefferson. He delivered more often than not and that was huge for them,” Sacramento coach Paul Westphal said.
What was less expected was the clutch shooting of Bell, who scored 16 points and made the second of back-to-back jumpers with 17 seconds remaining to put the Jazz up 105-100.
“It feels good. It was especially good for us to play another close one and figure out how to get over the hump late in the game,” Bell said. The Jazz had lost three in a row overall by five points or less.
“Just couldn’t pull it out. It’s a tough place to play for a lot of reasons,” Cousins said, “but they just beat us down the stretch and I missed some key free throws,”
Cousins was 6 of 11 from the line and missed two foul shots in overtime.
Jefferson, who tipped in his own miss with 25 seconds left, misfired on a baseline jumper with five seconds to play in regulation. Udrih raced to the other end but his 29-foot desperation runner rimmed out.
Even before longtime coach Jerry Sloan abruptly resigned and Deron Williams(notes) was traded to New Jersey, the Jazz were struggling at home. Since beating Charlotte 83-78 on Jan. 31, the Jazz had lost seven straight in Salt Lake— their longest home skid since dropping a club-record 12 consecutive games from Feb. 15-March 29, 1982.
“I didn’t even realize we lost that many games at home until I saw it flash across the bottom on ESPN. Our fans don’t deserve that. They’ve been too good to us,” Jefferson said.
The Kings outrebounded Utah, 50-47, but had a tough time guarding Jefferson down the stretch without Dalembert, who fouled out in regulation.
The Jazz blocked 13 shots and made 12 steals and allowed the Kings just one field goal in a 3:56 span of the extra period.
Sacramento’s Beno Udrih(notes) had 16 points as he and Thornton found ways to get shots when the Jazz focused on Cousins. Thornton is averaging more than 21 points in five games since New Orleans traded him to Sacramento.
Cousins punctuated a 13-2 run that bridged the third and fourth quarters with a follow dunk at the 8:41 mark to make 83-74 for the Kings.
The Jazz struck back with a 12-1 surge to put them back in front. The run was capped with Jefferson’s jumper with 4:05 to go.
“We had that lead, but they basically got three layups off our mistakes,” Udrih said. “They got back in the game, got a lift and woke up the crowd. Then, they just brought it home.”
Notes: Kyrylo Fesenko(notes) left the game in the fourth quarter with back spasms after four minutes of play. … Four other Sacramento players—DeMarcus Cousins (left shoulder strain), Samuel Dalembert(notes) (right knee), Jason Thompson(notes) (ankles) and Beno Udrih (left thigh bruise)—were all on the pregame injury list but did play. … Jazz C Francisco Elson(notes) also twisted his knee but continued to play and finished with a season-high nine rebounds and a key block. … Utah is 4-0 in overtime and the Kings are 0-5.