Regular Season Series (Game 3 of 4)

Series starts 12/14

Game 1: Tuesday, December 14th
Game 2: Wednesday, December 29th
Game 3: Monday, February 28th
Game 4: Tuesday, April 12th

Clippers 86

(25-32, 6-22 away)

Jazz 87

(19-37, 12-16 home)

    7:00 PM ET, February 28, 2005

    EnergySolutions Arena, Salt Lake City, UT

    1 2 3 4 T
    LAC 20 24 23 1986
    UTAH 20 23 23 2187

    Top Performers

    LAC: Z. Rebraca 12 Pts, 7 Reb, 2 Ast, 1 Blk

    UTAH: K. McLeod 18 Pts, 4 Reb, 8 Ast, 1 Stl, 1 Blk

    Win lifts Sloan into seventh in coaching wins

    SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- The Utah Jazz were inches away from another heartbreak.

    But Bobby Simmons missed a layup just before the buzzer that would have won it for the Los Angeles Clippers, and the Jazz had an 87-86 victory Monday night and their first winning streak in more than a month.

    "If they would have made that shot, I might have went crazy," said Utah's Keith McLeod, whose 18 points and eight assists were nearly overshadowed by his two missed free throws down the stretch.

    Utah was 23-for-23 from the line and McLeod had a chance to seal it with 6.5 seconds to play, but he missed both attempts and the Clippers got one final chance to win it.

    Rick Brunson rushed the ball up the court for the Clippers and the ball got through the lane to Simmons, who had a good look but the ball bounced off the backboard and rim as the horn sounded.

    "I just tried to put it as soft as I could off the glass and it rolled back out," said Simmons, who scored 17 for the Clippers.

    McLeod was relieved and his teammates were elated. Utah was coming off a 99-92 win at Houston the night before and finally won consecutive games for the first time since beating San Antonio and Phoenix Jan. 10 and 12.

    "That's fun. Those type of games are fun to play in, No. 1. And even more fun to win. Because we had to fight to get it done," said Utah's Raja Bell, who had 14 points.

    With the win, Utah's Jerry Sloan passed Dick Motta for seventh in NBA coaching victories with 936. But Sloan knew he could have just as easily remained tied with his former coach.

    "They did everything they could to win the ballgame," said Sloan, who played for Motta in Chicago. "You have to have a little bit of luck, so we'll take that."

    Rookie Kris Humphries pulled down a career-high 12 rebounds for the Jazz, who will try to make it three straight when they host Atlanta on Wednesday. Utah hasn't won more than two in a row since opening the season with four straight wins.

    Andrei Kirilenko had 11 points, six assists and four steals and Mehmet Okur finished with 11 points for Utah. Matt Harpring added 10 points and seven rebounds for the Jazz.

    Corey Maggette, who had 16 points for Los Angeles. Zeljko Rebraca scored 12 off the bench and Elton Brand had 10 points and eight rebounds for the Clippers, who have won just once in the Delta Center.

    "I'm getting tired of them. It's those little plays here and there that cost us the game," said

    Although it was sloppy at times, the game was intense throughout. Neither team led by more than nine and the teams went back and forth with a one-point lead for the first half of the final period.

    The Clippers pulled ahead by three twice, but Bell made two free throws and a jumper to give Utah an 82-81 lead that ended up standing through the frenzied finish.

    With about a minute left, Utah ate up about 40 seconds when Jarron Collins and Bell both pulled down offensive rebounds that allowed the Jazz to reset their offense and burn time. Utah finally scored when Okur made an off-balance shot that bounced off the rim three times before dropping.

    Okur was fouled by Brunson on the play and made the free throw to put Utah up 85-81 with 21.7 seconds remaining.

    It looked like the Jazz had the game wrapped up, but Maggette hit a 20-footer to get the Clippers to 85-83, then after McLeod hit two free throws with 11.6 seconds left, Simmons made a 3-pointer to make it 87-86.

    The Clippers fouled and got a break when McLeod missed both his free throws, but couldn't finish the comeback.

    ^Notes:@ The Clippers were outscored 12-3 to start the game, but battled back and tied it at 20-20 on Simmons' three-point play with 23.9 seconds left in the first quarter. ... The Clippers picked up veteran point guard Kenny Anderson earlier Monday. Anderson dressed but did not play. ... Utah put up five airballs in the first half. ... Utah forward Carlos Boozer (foot) missed his fifth straight game.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 86 87
    FGM-FGA 30-70 (.429) 31-71 (.437)
    3PM-3PA 2-2 (1.000) 2-6 (.333)
    FTM-FTA 24-27 (.889) 23-25 (.920)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 14-34 12-39
    Assists 16 20
    Turnovers 16 15
    Steals 6 7
    Blocks 7 5
    Fast Break Points 4 12
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 25 (0/0) 25 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 6 9

    Top Performers

    Los Angeles
    Zeljko Rebraca Rebraca
    Points: 12
    Reb: 7
    Ast: 2
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 1
    Keith McLeod McLeod
    Points: 18
    Reb: 4
    Ast: 8
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 1