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ught to Phoenix. Nash won two MVPs a

Postby kaisy on Sun Sep 29, 2013 2:14 am

SALT LAKE CITY -- The Utah Jazz quickly put 2012 in the rearview mirror. After closing out the year with tough back-to-back losses to the Los Angeles Clippers, the Jazz opened 2013 with an overpowering 106-84 victory over an uninspired Minnesota Timberwolves team on Wednesday. The Jazz did it despite knowing starting point guard Mo Williams will be out at least another six weeks after opting for surgery on his injured right thumb. "Our confidence never wavered," said Earl Watson, who stepped up with nine assists in sharing point guard duties Wednesday with Jamaal Tinsley. "Everybody is a little heartbroken about Mo," added power forward Derrick Favours. "But we know hes going to be all right. We just came out there and played like he was with us." It helped that Tinsley shot 6 of 8 and finished with 12 points. It also helped that Paul Millsap, who had seen his playing time diminish with the emergence of Favours, started 7 of 7 and finished with 14 points as his coach experimented with rotations. And it helped that Andrei Kirilenko, facing his former team for the first time since signing with Minnesota, couldnt keep his own hot streak going. Kirilenko received a warm round of applause from fans during introductions and started 3 of 3 but finished with just 12 points on 4-of-7 shooting. "It was nothing personal," Watson said of giving Kirilenko a rude homecoming. "We needed a win and Andrei happened to be on the other team." Gordon Hayward scored 17 points off the bench to lead the Jazz and Enes Kanter added 15, with eighth rebounds as Utah snapped a three-game losing streak. The only bad news, besides the lengthy loss of Williams, is that Kanter sprained his right ankle in the closing moments of the blowout win and will be a game-time decision Friday at Phoenix. Otherwise, there wasnt much Minnesota players could say after shooting a season-low 35.5 per cent from the field, including a season-low 2 of 17 from 3-point range. "We need to take a rest right now and kind of get back on track," said Kirilenko, who spent 10 seasons in a Jazz uniform before leaving as a free agent two years ago. "Its just one of those games where . you cant make a shot five or six possessions in a row, you couldnt put it in on a layup, you couldnt get to the line. Its all together kind of like an avalanche." Minnesota made only 12 of 40 shots in the second half. Overall, they were outscored 56-36 in the paint and 25-8 on the break. Utah (16-17) trailed by one after the first quarter but opened the second on a 15-4 run and the third on an 11-0 run. The Jazz led by as many as 20 in the third quarter, and unlike last week when they blew a 19-point lead against the Los Angeles Clippers, they kept pouring it on. Six Jazz players scored in double figures, the kind of effort they will need if they hope to climb back into the playoff picture. "I thought defensively we did a pretty good job, especially on some of their big guys," Hayward said. "That also spawned us some easy fast-break points, which we havent really been getting. We talked about that before the game. That was crucial for us." Alexey Shved and Kevin Love led Minnesota (14-14) with 13 apiece and Love added 10 rebounds but neither shot well. Love was 4-of-14 shooting and Shved shot 3 of 10. "This was a great win tonight," Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said. "It showed us what we can do if we concentrate on what we have to do. And this is who we are going to have and we cant feel sorry for ourselves. This is who we have and we have to figure out how we can be as good as we can with this group right now." The Jazz were reeling before the game after learning Mo Williams would be out for so long. But Corbin expressed confidence in veteran backups Tinsley and Watson. Tinsley showed his leadership, making 5 of 6 shots in the first half, including one where he bounced the inbounds pass off the backside of Nikola Pekovic for an easy layup. Watson, who is still trying to find his rhythm after a lengthy rehab following knee surgery last season, did his best to push the pace and make the key pass. The Jazz opened the second quarter on a 15-4 run, with reserves Kanter and Watson providing the biggest punch. Kanter hit an outside jumper, jammed after a long pass from Watson and went coast-to-coast on a steal for another dunk. The heady Watson fed players for alley-oops and pushed the ball up the court with long passes, including one that resulted in a Hayward dunk and 40-30 Jazz lead. In the third quarter, Millsap continued his hot hand, including a fast-break layup after a steal by Jefferson that put Utah up 70-50. Utah closed out the quarter with another 3 by Hayward and a soaring dunk by Kanter. The Timberwolves, who had wins over Oklahoma City and Phoenix in the last two weeks, had no energy to make a run -- even in a building that Kirilenko knew so well. He was drafted in 1999 by the Jazz (24th overall pick), still owns a home in Salt Lake City and spoke fondly of his former teammates and the Jazz fans. "Theres a lot of memories," Kirilenko said. "Every fan for 10 years has some good moments and I have a lot of good moments here." Wednesday night, despite the warm reception, was one to forget. NOTES: Utahs roster is full at 15 because guard Raja Bell counts even though he is not with the team. The Jazz failed to trade him following a nasty dispute with Corbin last season. ... Love received a technical during Utahs big third-quarter run. Jazz PF Favours had perhaps his best move of the season when he spun around Greg Steimsma during Utahs big second-quarter run. . Former Jazz coach Jerry Sloan was in the stands again to see Kirilenkos return. . Pekovic matched his career-best with four blocks. Camo James Laurinaitis Jersey . Literally. Darche, 36, a free agent who has yet to play an NHL game this season, released a brief message on his Twitter account on Tuesday in both French and English, stating, "Time to make it official! Moving on to second career," along with a picture of his skates hanging on hooks. Eric Dickerson Jersey . At this time last season, we were discussing the future of Jose Calderon and Jerryd Bayless, with the spectre of Steve Nash looming in the distance. http://www.ramssportsgear.com/pink-torr ... wy-66.html . -- Sylvie Robichauds New Brunswick rink remained undefeated at the Canadian mixed curling championship after an 11-3 win over Scott Hamiltons Yukon team Saturday. Rams Gear . -- Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill is listed as questionable for Sundays game at Indianapolis, and coach Joe Philbin says theres no timetable for a decision on whether hell play. Rams Jack Youngblood Jersey . The Czech Republic led through Milan Baros 50th-minute goal, the striker collecting a pass from Jan Rezek and lifting the ball over advancing goalkeeper Shay Given. Cox came on as a 71st-minute replacement for captain Robbie Keane to score.PHOENIX - Michael Beasley scored a season-high 27 points and the Phoenix Suns rallied from 13 down in the fourth quarter to hand the Los Angeles Lakers their eighth straight road loss 92-86 on Wednesday night. The dramatic comeback came in Steve Nashs first game in Phoenix since he left for the Lakers after last season. The Lakers, who had won three straight -- all at home, lost Dwight Howard when he reinjured his right shoulder with 6:57 to play. Beasley, whose previous season best of 25 came two games earlier, scored on a scrambling layup as the shot clock was expiring to put the Suns ahead 88-86 with 43.8 seconds to play. Kobe Bryant had 17 points and nine assists, but missed what would have been the tying layup with 24 seconds to play. Howard had nine points and 14 rebounds before he left after aggravating the shoulder injury that sidelined him for three games earlier this month. Metta World Peace scored 15, Pau Gasol 14 and Jamison 13 for Los Angeles. The Lakers played the first of seven straight on the road, where they havent won since Dec. 22. The Suns, who improved to 3-2 since Alvin Gentry was fired and replaced by interim coach Lindsey Hunter, outscored the Lakers 29-13 in the fourth quarter. Down 78-65 with 10 minutes left after Antawn Jamison scored 10 straight Lakers points, the Suns went on an 8-0 spurt to 78-73. But Bryants 22-footer with 6:05 left had Los Angeles ahead 80-73. Phoenix outscored the Lakers 19-6 the rest of way. After Bryant threw up an airball under P.J. Tuckers tight defence, Jared Dudley sank a 3-pointer to tie it at 82 with 3:39 left. After a turnover by the Lakers, Beasleys 17-footer made it 84-82, then Luis Scola sank a 15-footer to complete a 13-2 run that had Phoenix ahead 86-82 with 1:55 left. Bryants driving layup cut it to 86-84 with 1:35 to go, then Nash knocked the ball loose from Scola forr a turnover and Bryants two free throws tied it at 86-86 with 1:07 to play.dddddddddddd That set up Beasleys drive. The Suns reserve, whose play has blossomed since Turner took over, almost lost control of the ball as the shot clock wound down, but managed to drive to the hoop for a layup that made 88-86. Bryants driving miss followed and the Suns wrapped it up from the foul line. A video tribute to Nash during a first-quarter timeout drew a rousing standing ovation from the crowd, a mixture of Lakers and Suns fans. Nash responded with a wave as the Lakers came back onto the court. It was a warm remembrance of the high-flying style that Nash and coach Mike DAntoni, now coaching the Lakers, brought to Phoenix. Nash won two MVPs and the team made the Western Conference finals twice in Nashs eight seasons. Nash, who turns 39 on Feb. 7, left the Suns for Los Angeles in a sign-and-trade deal at the end of last season. Nash finished with 11 points and two assists. Marcin Gortat had 14 points and 12 rebounds as five Suns reached double figures. Neither team led by more than five points in the first half with the game tied 41-41 at the break. The Lakers outscored Phoenix 23-10 to start the third quarter, taking a 64-51 lead on a layup by Peace with 3:26 left in the period. He also had a pair of 3s in the run. Jamison finished the quarter with a long 2-pointer, followed by a 3, and the Lakers led 73-63 entering the fourth. It was a stretch of 10 consecutive points for Jamison, whose layup made it 78-65 with 10 minutes to play. Notes: The Suns were in black uniforms for the first time since 2000. ... The Lakers dont play at home until Feb. 12, against Phoenix. ... Suns C Jermaine ONeal missed his fifth straight game because of an irregular heartbeat. ... DAntoni had lunch Wednesday with good friend Gentry. ... 18-time Olympic gold medallist Michael Phelps was in the crowd. ' ' '
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