SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- When injuries left the Utah Jazz without
two starters, the smallest player on the team took control.
Raul Lopez, barely 6-feet tall and a wispy 160 pounds, scored a
career-high 18 points to help the Jazz overcome injuries to Carlos
Arroyo and DeShawn Stevenson and beat the Milwaukee Bucks 99-90
Arroyo and Stevenson left the court -- Stevenson on a stretcher --
within 70 seconds of each other in the third quarter.
"We started playing harder after DeShawn got hurt," Lopez
said. "I was feeling good and playing with confidence."
The Jazz erased a seven-point deficit and then took charge in
the fourth quarter as Lopez scored seven straight points.
"If you want to play, you've got to stay ready. Tonight was a
perfect example of guys being ready to play and taking advantage of
opportunities," Utah coach Jerry Sloan said.
Matt Harpring scored 18 for the Jazz, who improved to 6-1 at
Michael Redd led Milwaukee (5-7) with 28 points and Tim Thomas
had 22 before fouling out on an offensive foul with 4:02 to play.
Thomas was scoreless in the fourth quarter as the Bucks lost their
third straight for the first time this season.
"We hit a dry spell. We started turning it over, couldn't make
shots. Then they came down and were getting shots they wanted,"
Bucks coach Terry Porter said.
The Bucks were outscored 21-5 over a seven-minute span bridging
the third and fourth quarters.
Arroyo, the Jazz starting point guard who averages 16.5 points
and 6.4 assists, sprained his left ankle during a scramble for the
ball with nine minutes left in the third quarter. Arroyo missed two
games earlier in the season when he sprained the same ankle. He
will be fully evaluated Saturday.
Stevenson was knocked down on a drive to the basket with 7:50
remaining in the period. The game was delayed for seven minutes
while trainers attended to him. Utah's starting shooting guard
moved slowly before being rolled onto a stretcher and taken to the
"DeShawn has a neck injury but it doesn't look serious. He is
responding and everything looks normal. They are taking him to the
hospital for precautionary tests," said David Allred, Jazz vice
president of communications.
Stevenson was later released from University Hospital.
Just after Arroyo and Stevenson were hurt, Redd gave the Bucks
their biggest lead, 60-53, with seven minutes left in the third
But the Bucks went flat and the injuries woke up the Jazz.
"Both of their guys got hurt inadvertently and emotions rose a
little bit. We didn't do a good job of matching their intensity
after that," Redd said.
Lopez sparked the Jazz with an assist for Curtis Borchardt's
dunk, followed by a 3 pointer. Utah finished the quarter with a
10-0 run capped by Kirilenko's steal and layup to beat the buzzer
for a 74-68 lead.
"Raul did a tremendous job and really gave us a spark when we
needed to get going," said Borchardt, a rookie center who had
season-highs of 11 points and eight rebounds.
Lopez scored seven quick points to start the final period as
Utah stretched its advantage to 83-71 with 8:24 to play. The Bucks
never got closer than seven the rest of the game.
With 11:30 left the fourth quarter, Thomas shoved Lopez to
the floor and received a flagrant foul. ... After the crowd started
chanting against the referees while trainers attended to Stevenson,
Utah's Greg Ostertag went to midcourt and waved his arms to silence
the fans. ... The teams played the first 8:54 without a single team
foul. The Jazz then committed three in the a 47 second span. ...
The teams combined for 13 offensive fouls.