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Utah Jazz: Price makes most of his chance to shine

Published March 18, 2008 2:54 am

His minutes inflated, Price pays dividends
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2008, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

As the clock ticked down in the fourth quarter Monday night at EnergySolutions Arena, Ronnie Price kept waiting . . . and waiting . . . and waiting.

To his surprise, nothing happened.

Starting point guard Deron Williams stayed on the bench and Price stayed on the floor, where he quarterbacked the Jazz during the decisive stretch of their 97-79 victory over Toronto.

"You know, I normally have a little set schedule of when I'm coming in and when I'm coming out," Price said. "So, yeah, I looked over my shoulder a few times."

Price expected to see Williams at the scorer's table, preparing to check into the game. Instead, coach Jerry Sloan stayed with Price about three minutes longer than usual, and he responded by playing one of his best games of the season.

In the opening 6:27 of the fourth quarter, Utah outscored the Raptors, 24-4. The Jazz turned a 65-65 tie into an 89-69 lead. Price had four points and three assists during the blitz.

In all, Price played 13:24 in the game. With him on the floor, the Jazz outscored the Raptors, 41-16. Price finished with 13 points - three more than he had scored in the previous four games - and five assists.

"He played great tonight," said Williams. "He was pushing the ball in transition. He got guys involved. He hit shots. He played great defense. . . . He's been struggling a little bit with his shot and I think it had gotten into him a little bit mentally. But he came out tonight, shook it off and played great."

One other thing.

"He frustrated T.J. Ford," Williams said, trying not to smile.

With 6:59 remaining, Ford collided with Price on a drive to the basket. He was called for an offensive foul and two technicals, which meant automatic ejection.

Leading 79-69 at the time, the Jazz bumped it it 84-69 when Kyle Korver made two free throws on the technicals and Andrei Kirilenko followed with a three-pointer.

In all, Utah's nonstarters outscored Toronto's bench, 47-30.

luhm@sltrib.com

Opponent Minutes FGs 3-Pointers FTs Assists Points

vs. Toronto 13 5-8 2-3 1-1 5 13

at New Jersey 9 0-4 0-1 0-0 5 0

at Boston 6 2-4 1-2 0-0 0 5

at Milwaukee 6 0-1 0-0 0-0 1 0

at Chicago 6 2-5 1-3 0-0 0 5