Utah Jazz: Comeback stalls as Pierce beats Jazz in overtime
Politics and social media gave us "Eastwooding," and a blend of Christianity, kinesiology and idolatry gave us "Tebowing." But somehow in this era of "-ing," the great, big, spinning world whiffed on this one.
As in stabbing. Sharp, acute and deep. As in Boston's Paul Pierce fighting through and shooting over DeMarre Carroll's undaunted defense in overtime.
Through the heart.
Carroll locked Pierce down at the end of regulation, forcing an awkward, ineffectual jumper at the buzzer. But Pierce exacted his revenge in the extra period, scoring seven of his game-high 26 points as the Celtics beat the Jazz 110-107.
"Paul Pierce has been doing that to guys for years," Jazz veteran Marvin Williams said. "That's why he's so great."
Said Al Jefferson: "That's why they call him 'The Truth.' "
The Jazz played their first of eight straight games against the Eastern Conference, with two home games remaining against Atlanta and Charlotte before embarking on their final four-game road trip of the season. Of 29 games away from EnergySolutions Arena, the Jazz have won 10.
"These next two home games are very crucial before we go on the road," Carroll said. "That's a loss, we shake it off. It should hurt till midnight."
The Jazz are a veteran bunch, so it's rare to see and enjoy the dynamic that unfolded Monday in front of a sellout crowd at EnergySolutions Arena.
With the Celtics fighting with their tandem of Hall of Famers Pierce and Kevin Garnett the Jazz countered with their rambunctious, devil-may-care bunch of up-and-comers: Carroll, Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors, Alec Burks and Enes Kanter. That group started the fourth quarter with the Jazz down 80-72 and immediately went on a 13-2 run.
"That's the beauty of our game," Carroll said. "We're young, we can run, we don't like to slow it down."
Hayward led the Jazz with 26 points in his third game back after missing 10 with a sprained right shoulder. Paul Millsap scored 16 points, while Al Jefferson notched another double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds. Williams broke free of a dreadful stretch by scoring 15 points on 5-of-10 shooting.
In 32 minutes, Alec Burks was held to eight points on 4-of-10 shooting, but his left-handed basket with 19.9 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter tied the game at 97. The play capped a disastrous possession in which the Jazz wasted an opportunity to go two-for-one when a wayward pass nearly went out of bounds before Millsap sent it back inbounds to Gordon Hayward, who drove and found Burks.
Just like they drew it up, right?
"I'm proud of our guys," coach Tyrone Corbin said, "they fought down the stretch."
The Jazz led 53-48 at halftime, but were outscored 32-19 in the third quarter. By overtime, though, they had seemingly seized control of the flow of the game. They led 101-99 after a 21-foot jump shot by Carroll with 2:48 remaining.
Then Pierce took over. With Carroll in his face, he buried a 3-pointer. After Millsap missed on the other end and Pierce rebounded, he made a jumper. Then another.
It was 106-101 by then, and the Jazz were grappling to stay in the game.
They had the ball down three points with 13.8 seconds left after a shot-clock violation by the Celtics, but the Jazz failed to get a good shot and settled for free throws when Millsap was fouled. After two free throws by Courtney Lee, the Jazz had a final shot with 1.2 seconds left.
Randy Foye, who was inserted for the final two possessions, was within two 3-pointers of the team-record 129 in a season. Jefferson set a screen that freed Foye from Lee, but when Foye received the ball, he was off-balance and shot a harmless 26-footer that missed everything.
"He caught it, turned and shot it right at the rim," Corbin said. "Unfortunately, it didn't go in."
Twitter: @tribjazz Storylines Jazz can't stop Celtics in OT
R Gordon Hayward leads the Jazz with 26 points in 36 minutes.
• Boston outscores the Jazz 32-19 in a crucial third period.
• The Jazz play two more games at home before hitting the road for four games against the Eastern Conference.
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