Near-perfect Boozer powers Jazz past Kings
Posted: 9:36 PM- There was no need to worry about a letdown Friday night for the Jazz after a three-day break between games. Not with Carlos Boozer hitting his first 13 shots and the crazy Ron Artest coming out in the second half.
Boozer finished with 33 points on 15 of 18 shooting and Artest was a chest-pounding, yelling, out-of-control mess in the fourth quarter. Artest, the NBA's resident head case, was ejected after his second technical with 4:34 left in the fourth quarter.
The Jazz took a 127-113 victory over the Kings, good for their eighth consecutive win at EnergySolutions Arena. Andrei Kirilenko had a season-high 25 points and hit three three-pointers, but the game nearly was overshadowed by the Artest sideshow.
Artest spent the fourth quarter on the verge of a meltdown. He mixed it up with Matt Harpring almost from the start of the quarter and was called for a technical with 8:49 left after Harpring drew a foul for physical play on defense.
Artest was out of control early, making an emphatic first-down motion after a Jazz turnover in the first half. Artest also nearly elbowed Kyle Korver in the head after he grabbed the ball after a made basket and drew a delay of game warning.
The last straw came after Artest fouled Kirilenko hard on a drive. Artest exaggeratedly boxed out Boozer on the free throws and took a swipe at Boozer. Referee Bennett Salvatore immediately whistled Artest for his second technical.
Sacramento coach Reggie Theus also was called for a technical as he came onto the court to argue that Harpring leveled Kevin Martin on a screen in the midst of the Artest debacle.
The question in the second half quickly became when -- and then whether -- Boozer would miss a shot. He followed up a Ronnie Brewer miss, beat Brad Miller to hit a 13-footer and dunked off a behind-the-back pass from Deron Williams.
Boozer hit a jumper from the top of the key and then a quick 21-footer off an inbounds give-and-go. That left him 11-for-11 from the field but the Jazz were still waiting to take control, leading just 76-74.
Artest might have unwittingly provided the Jazz the motivation they needed to make their push, howling after he tipped in his own miss. The Jazz took off on a 9-0 run after that, capped by Paul Millsap's block of Kevin Martin and Boozer's layup at the other end.
The Jazz owned a 10-point lead, but Boozer couldn't reach the end of the quarter perfect from the field. After making his first 13 shots, Boozer missed a layup with 0.9 seconds left in the third. Utah still took a 95-87 lead into the fourth quarter.
The Jazz improved to 18-3 at home this season, avenged a Dec. 4 loss to the Kings in which they gave up a 43-point fourth quarter. The Kings had won six of nine games coming into Friday.