Carlos Boozer grabbed an offensive rebound in the lane and flipped a one-handed shot toward the basket, with the clock ticking down in a tie game Monday night.
The ball bounced off the rim.
Whoa. Good thing.
For all the punishment that Jazz fans are being asked to absorb this season, having Boozer personally beat his old team just would have been too much for them to take. From that potentially disastrous ending, some memorable moments ensued during overtime of the Jazz’s 89-83 victory at EnergySolutions Arena.
These guys succeed just often enough to maintain the novelty. When they eventually find themselves and start winning roughly one-third of their games, this stuff won’t be nearly as much fun.
And eventually, the comparisons of the Jazz to the franchise’s inaugural season in New Orleans in 1974-75 might lose their consistent placement in my chronicles. For now, the latest update: Tyrone Corbin made it past the Scotty Robertson Checkpoint, after the team’s first coach was fired with a similar 1-14 record. And the Jazz’s second victory came in Game 16, compared with Game 18 in New Orleans.
In this episode, rookie guard Trey Burke’s key 3-pointer and Jeremy Evans’ dunk of Gordon Hayward’s lob pass served as the signature moments of overtime.
Those were satisfying developments on a night when there were hardly any signs of development for a big chunk of the Jazz’s young core. Enes Kanter was sidelined by an ankle injury, Derrick Favors fouled out and Alec Burks played only 12 minutes.
If not for the overtime opportunity, Hayward would have remembered missing a go-ahead shot. As it was, Hayward was rewarded with his career-high 12th assist — more than Chicago’s entire team, missing Derrick Rose. Burke also would have dealt with a rough shooting night, but he came through in overtime.
So the trend is established: The Jazz win every time a point guard makes his first official home appearance. They beat New Orleans two weeks ago when Diante Garrett was summoned from the NBA Development League and made a nice contribution in 22 minutes, while knowing only a few plays. And then Burke played 34 minutes Monday in his ESA debut after missing most of the preseason and the first 12 regular-season games with a broken finger. By Burke’s account, Corbin told him, "You’re going to make some mistakes … play confident out there."
So he kept firing, delivering the 3-pointer that pushed the Jazz’s lead to 83-78 early in overtime.
"You’ve got to learn, going through the process," Corbin said.
The thing is, those big plays by Hayward and Burke never would have happened if Boozer could have converted one of the easiest shots he took during a 26-point, 16-rebound night. He’s still being booed in this building, three-plus years after leading the Jazz to their last playoff series victory for presumably a long, long time.
Whatever. The Jazz beat Boozer for the first time since he departed, surviving in a frightfully ugly game against a Chicago team dealing with the shock of losing Rose to another season-ending knee injury.
The teams shot less than 40 percent in the game, after exactly matching each other’s futility in the first half — 9 of 21 in the first quarter, 6 of 18 in the second quarter. That’s tough to do.
The Jazz and Bulls could not separate themselves in regulation, thanks to misses by Luol Deng and Boozer in the final sequence. But now, the Jazz can shoot for an actual winning streak Friday when Jeff Hornacek’s Phoenix Suns come to town.
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