Utah Jazz get huge lift from Earl Watson in overtime
Utah Jazz point guard Earl Watson hasn't started any games this season.
Watson helped finished Indiana, however, with a poised and determined effort in overtime on Saturday night at EnergySolutions Arena.
After the Jazz squandered an eight-point lead in the final two minutes of regulation, Watson provided the spark they needed to score a 114-110 win.
"He's a been a tough, great pro for us," said coach Tyrone Corbin, "and he'll continue to do great things."
Watson was not concerned about the Jazz's collapse at the end of regulation. He simply wanted to move on and provide a lift in overtime.
"Just win the game," Watson said. "It's a long game, but just win the game. I love to play basketball, so if they put more time on the clock, it's more fun for me more opportunities to compete."
With the game tied at 98, Watson helped get the Jazz off to a good start in the extra five minutes when he got the ball to Al Jefferson on Utah's first possession.
Jefferson nailed a 15-footer to give the Jazz the lead.
After a defensive stop, Watson quarterbacked a possession that resulted in a layup by Jefferson.
Utah stopped the Pacers again and, on its third offensive possession, Watson hit Paul Millsap with a backdoor bounce pass that led to another easy basket.
"Our bigs really went to work," Watson said.
Corbin credited Watson, saying, "I thought he did a great job controlling the tempo. The first three possessions, I thought, he ran the set and got something different every time.
"That's what we are going to need the versatility to read and have guys understand that every cut is a threat cut and everybody is live in this set."
Watson wasn't finished.
The Jazz owned a 108-104 lead when Jefferson missed a jumper. Watson kept the ball alive, though, and Utah retained possession.
After Gordon Hayward missed another jumper with 55.9 seconds remaining, Watson grabbed the rebound to give the Jazz another extra possession.
This time, Jefferson scored from the lane, bumping Utah's lead to 110-104 with 34.7 seconds remaining.
Asked about his rebounding, Watson smiled.
"Just took them back to my UCLA days, basically," he said. "I used to crash the boards [in college] and get yelled at, as a point guard crashing. But I felt like I had to make a difference and try to be an X-factor."