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Kanter sparks Jazz in second quarter

Published February 6, 2013 10:26 pm

Jazz • Center scores 17 points, nine rebounds in just 17 minutes.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Just when the Utah Jazz needed it, Enes Kanter started playing like the No. 3 overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft.

Kanter scored 11 points during a 31/2-minute span of the second quarter against Milwaukee on Wednesday night, helping the Jazz turn a 29-24 deficit into a 37-33 lead.

Utah never looked back and raced to its fourth win in the last five games with a 100-86 victory over the Bucks.

"He was aggressive," said coach Tyrone Corbin. "I thought he went after offensive rebounds and he was down low early. He was doing a good job of getting position."

Kanter started his run with a rebound and putback with 10:03 left in the first half.

He followed with a short jumper, another rebound basket, a hook shot from the lane and a three-point play with 6:30 remaining in the second quarter.

Kanter infused life into the Jazz's previously dormant offense before finishing with 17 points, nine rebounds and a career-high five blocked shots in only 17 minutes.

"Some nights, his minutes won't be where he can get a steady flow," Corbin said. "I can't wait as long for him to get going as I can on some other nights. It's an unfair position for him at times … but I never lost confidence in him."

In his previous four games, Kanter scored a total of nine points on 4-for-14 shooting. He credited teammate Al Jefferson for keeping him confident.

"I think I will say because of Jefferson," Kanter said. "…Every time I had a bad game or struggled a little, he [sat] down and talked to me. He said, 'I've been through this. Just keep your head up and fight and play like before.' That's what I did tonight."

Told that Kanter credited him for helping his confidence level, Jefferson said, "That's all about the NBA, man. You ain't perfect. You are going to have bad nights. You are going to have bad weeks. … I think he just hit a sophomore wall, I call it. But he bounced out of it."

With the Jazz starters struggling, Kanter's huge second quarter was critical to Utah's victory over the Bucks.

"… Everybody knows he is mad talented," Jefferson said. "Everybody knows what he can do. But sometimes your body just doesn't want to agree with your mind. Sometimes you just have to fight through it, and I think he did that." —

Kanter's big night

• Enes Kanter scores 17 points in the Jazz's 100-86 victory over Milwaukee.

• During a 3 1/2-minute stretch of the second quarter, Kanter pours in 11 points.

• Kanter helps the Jazz wipe out a 29-24 deficit and take a 37-33 lead over the Bucks.