Utah Jazz: Utah ends Portland's streak at 13 wins
The fortunate thing about making his debut with the Jazz on New Year's Eve is that Kyle Korver will be able to enjoy the memories from Monday night's game every time he watches the ball drop in Times Square or hears "Auld Lang Syne" the rest of his life.
The walk to the scorer's table in the second quarter as the EnergySolutions Arena crowd stood and cheered. The three-pointer he hit barely 30 seconds after checking in. The three-point play he delivered in the fourth quarter. The Jazz's streak-busting victory over Portland.
It was more than Korver ever could have imagined two days after he was acquired from Philadelphia. The Jazz brought the Trail Blazers' 13-game winning streak to an end with a 111-101 victory as Korver finished with 11 points in 18 minutes off the bench.
"I'm hoping this is a great fit for
5:46: Checks in for C.J. Miles after standing ovation from crowd on walk to scorer's table.
5:13: Hits second-chance three-pointer after missing one only seconds
4:55: Deflects Jarrett Jack pass, leading to spectacular Paul Millsap layup.
2:59: Blocks Brandon Roy inside, one of two blocks for the game.
2:47: Turns defensive three second call against Portland into automatic free throw.
7:16: Roy hits two free throws for the last of six points scored against Korver.
7:05: Korver takes pass from Andrei Kirilenko and scores as part of three-point play.
5:56: Strips Brandon Roy, leading to Millsap follow-up basket at the other end.
4:43: Cherry-picks layup after Martell Webster misses three-pointer
0:00: Runs out clock with ball in hands as Jazz play "Auld Lang Syne."
me, for them,'' Korver said. "I mean, getting traded is a whole crazy experience, but when you come out and have a night like this and you get a big win against a really good team, that definitely kind of makes things a little easier."
He described himself as feeling like a rookie before the game, even trying a 360-degree dunk in layup lines. From wanting to call somebody when he put on his new jersey for the first time,
Korver would have been forgiven for not wanting to take it off afterward.
It was payback for the Jazz, who lost twice to the Blazers during what was Portland's second-longest winning streak in franchise history. The Jazz also reached the end of a 5-11 month with new hope thanks to Korver's arrival and a favorable schedule for January.
Asked about ending the Blazers' streak, Carlos Boozer said: "It is good, but honestly, desperately, desperately we needed a win."
The Blazers had opened a three-game lead over the Jazz in the Northwest Division before Monday's game.
Deron Williams had 18 points and eight assists and took over during a 12-3 third-quarter run that put the Jazz in front for good. Matt Harpring had a season-high 15 points and the Jazz bench (with the addition of Korver) combined for 50 points.
Maybe there's a reason Denver coach George Karl reacted the way he did to the Korver trade. "I was a lot of angry yesterday,'' Karl told the Denver Post. "A lot of cussing. They made a bad situation be very good."
Korver arrived in Salt Lake City on Saturday night, having been traded for guard Gordan Giricek and a future first-round draft pick.
He had only the pregame shootaround Monday to get to know his new teammates and coaches.
The Jazz got an unquestioned lift when Korver checked in with 5:46 left in the second quarter. He had the fans on their feet as he headed to the scorer's table before a timeout and buried a three-pointer 33 seconds after checking in.
With Korver in the game, the Jazz outscored Portland 17-11 to take a 52-50 lead into halftime. His first deflection - which Korver quickly learned the Jazz value greatly - led to a layup for Paul Millsap after a between-the-legs pass from Andrei Kirilenko.
Korver came back to play the entire fourth quarter ahead of Ronnie Brewer and C.J. Miles. He missed two three-pointers only to score inside when he set a screen and got open on the block, punching in a basket while drawing a foul against Channing Frye.
His three-point play put the Jazz ahead 94-89 with 7:05 left.Kirilenko ran out for a dunk after Steve Blake missed a three-pointer, Korver stripped Brandon Roy, Millsap followed up around the basket and Korver cherry-picked a layup to make it 101-91.
The Jazz closed out the victory from there - improving to 11-3 at home - as Korver finished 3-for-7 from the field, 1-for-4 on three-pointers and 4-for-4 from the foul line with two steals and two blocks.
"I'm not going to pick a guy up 94 feet and turn him five times before half-court,'' Korver said, "but I try to play good team defense and try to be in the right spot."
Even if he had a limited command of the Jazz plays, Korver got by on his instincts. He had a pocket of fans chanting his name by the end of the game and was off to a New Year's party at Kirilenko's house afterward to celebrate with his new teammates.
"It's a good win against a really good team, so it's a good way to finish the year," Korver said.
* IN SHORT: The Jazz welcome forward Kyle Korver and close out December by snapping Portland's 13-game win streak.
* KEY MOMENT: With the Jazz clinging to a 92-89 lead in the fourth quarter,
Korver hits a layup inside as part of a three-point play. The Jazz go on to build a 10-point lead and never look back.
* NOTES: Andrei Kirilenko's injury to his right biceps tendon ended up costing him just one game.