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Ostertag rescues Jazz with huge effort

4/27/2003

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- The Utah Jazz didn't play like a team
trying to salvage some respect. They looked more like a team with
plans to advance.

Greg Ostertag had 22 points, 12 rebounds and five blocks as the
Jazz beat Sacramento 107-104 Saturday night, cutting the Kings'
lead in the opening round playoff series to 2-1.

"It was a big game, but it's a series and you've got to win
four,'' said Ostertag, who topped his career playoff high for
scoring and rebounding for the second time in a week.

The teams hadn't played in five days since Monday's 108-95
victory by Sacramento, and the extended layoff seemed to do the
Jazz some good.

Unlike the first two games when Utah started strong in the first
quarter and collapsed in the second, the Jazz stayed intense for
most of the game -- finding a way to loose balls, crashing hard to
the floor to draw a foul or getting putbacks to regain the
momentum.

"It looked like we were involved. It looked like we wanted to
be there. That was the exciting thing about it,'' said Utah coach
Jerry Sloan, who was ejected in the third quarter after getting
called for his second technical foul.

Karl Malone had 20 points and 11 rebounds, John Stockton
finished with 15 points and seven assists and Calbert Cheaney added
15 points for the Jazz, who haven't been swept in the playoffs
since 1989.

Utah committed just seven turnovers while forcing 14.

"They got us on our heels. I thought they were the
aggressors,'' Sacramento coach Rick Adelman said. "I kept hearing
how physical they were going to be, but they were very aggressive
offensively.

Chris Webber, who missed practice all week because of a sore
lower back, had 24 points and 11 rebounds before fouling out with
1:57 left.

Mike Bibby scored 23 and Peja Stojakovic finished with 19 points
for the Kings, who couldn't overcome their 34 fouls. The Jazz, who
were called for 21 fouls, took advantage of the calls, making 16 of
their final 17 from the line to seal it.

The Kings were fuming over the foul discrepancy.

"The refs need to see both sides of the game. They can play
physical, but we can't play physical,'' said Bobby Jackson, who
also fouled out. "It's ridiculous. I'd rather have high school
refs than NBA refs.''

The Jazz, who lost to the Kings on a disputed foul call in
December, weren't apologizing for anything.

"We have to allow ourselves to play like that. Within the
rules, but play physical,'' Malone said. "That's what playoff
basketball is all about. No excuses.''

Game 4 is Monday at the Delta Center, where the Kings swept both
games last year to knock the Jazz out in the first round.

"We've got to make it real simple. We are playing one game,''
Stockton said. "We just had to win this one game. We know it could
get out of hand if we go down 0-3.''

This was the second time this year that Sloan got tossed and the
Jazz wound up with a win over the Kings. Sloan was also ejected in
a January game at Sacramento for shoving an official, an offense
that drew a seven-game suspension.

Ostertag, who had 18 points and 11 rebounds in the series
opener, came back after twisting his ankle in the fourth quarter
and made his final six attempts from the line, where he's a 58
percent shooter.

"All my points came off passes from guys. It was right place,
right time. Getting to open spots and making layups,'' Ostertag
said.

The Kings appeared to be taking command midway through the
fourth when Webber hit a jumper to tie it at 86-all, then Keon Clark followed with a dunk to give Sacramento the lead -- the last
one for the Kings.

Ostertag made four straight from the line, and after Webber tied
it at 90-all, Matt Harpring started an 8-3 Jazz run. Jim Jackson
got the Kings to 105-102 in the final minute, but Sacramento had to
foul and Stockton made his last four from the line.

Harpring finished with 11 points as all five Utah starters
scored in double figures.

Game notes
Jazz owner Larry Miller was celebrating his 59th birthday
Saturday. ... Cheryl Ford, Malone's daughter who was picked third
Friday in the WNBA draft, was in the stands. ... The Jazz haven't
been swept since losing to Golden State in the opening round of the
1989 playoffs.