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Working the clutch? Jazz finally able to stay in gear

Published March 5, 2011 11:20 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2011, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

The Utah Jazz finally made plays down the stretch in a 109-102 overtime win against Sacramento at EnergySolutions Arena on Saturday night.

It's something the Jazz haven't been able to do the last few weeks.

But there was Raja Bell with two huge shots in the final three minutes. There was Andrei Kirilenko with a big steal. There was Devin Harris getting his team into the right spots at the right time so the offense could run smooth. There was Al Jefferson, taking over in crunch time.

"The main thing is that we fought back in overtime," Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said. "Sacramento hit the big 3 to start the overtime off and we fought back, got it worked out from there and we were able to win the game."

To say the Jazz are on a learning curve in their adjustment with Corbin and all of the new pieces is an understatement. But where Utah failed against Denver and Boston when it counted, the Jazz came up big against the Kings.

Utah was forced into overtime because it missed a rotation that allowed Marcus Thornton to hit a big 3-pointer at the end of regulation. But despite the mistake, the Jazz defense tightened considerably in the extra session.

They were effective against DeMarcus Cousins, after the rookie had his way for most of the game. They clogged the middle and they rebounded much better, all little things that don't usually show up on the stat sheet.

"It feels good," Bell said. "I think it was especially good for us to play another close one and figure out how to get over the hump late in the game. We made some mistakes down the stretch and let it slip again, but we fought and we figured it out in overtime, so I think that's good experience for us."

tjones@sltrib.com

Big moments

• Utah allows Sacramento just seven points in overtime.

• The Jazz receive big plays from Raja Bell and Andrei Kirilenko.

• Ty Corbin says Francisco Elson played a big role in shutting DeMarcus Cousins down in overtime.