Regular Season Series (Game 4 of 4)

Series starts 2/22

Game 1: Wednesday, February 22nd
Game 2: Saturday, February 25th
Game 3: Monday, March 27th
Game 4: Friday, April 14th

Jazz 105

(40-39, 19-20 away)

Hornets 104

(38-41, 24-17 home)

Coverage: COX

7:00 PM ET, April 14, 2006

Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City, OK

1 2 3 4 T
UTAH 20 23 33 29105
NO 28 26 24 26104

Top Performers

Utah: A. Kirilenko 25 Pts, 9 Reb, 6 Ast, 1 Stl, 7 Blk

NO/Oklahoma City : D. West 31 Pts, 12 Reb, 1 Ast, 2 Blk

Jazz stay alive in West, deal Hornets crushing loss

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- Deron Williams put Utah ahead then did his best to keep a fellow rookie from handing the Jazz a critical late-season loss.

It worked.

Williams hit two free throws with 18 seconds left and New Orleans' Chris Paul missed two potential game-winners as the Jazz pulled closer in the race for the final playoff spot in the West with a 105-104 win Friday night.

"That keeps us alive. Otherwise, we're probably dead," Utah coach Jerry Sloan said. "It's pretty simple. It's just like anybody. We'd like to stay alive a little longer."

Andrei Kirilenko blocked a driving layup by Paul in the final seconds, but Paul was able to get the rebound on the floor and call timeout with 1.8 seconds to set up his final shot.

He then took an inbounds pass from Kirk Snyder and leaned into Williams but his right handed attempt missed the rim. Kirilenko grabbed the ball as stunned Hornets players looked for a foul call.

"I just tried to stay in front of him and not foul," said Williams, who scored 17 points. "I just tried to put my hands up and hopefully they didn't call a foul."

Paul thought he was fouled.

"I felt like it but it doesn't matter," said Paul, who at No. 4 was drafted one spot behind Williams last year. "They call it how they see it and that's their job. Our job is to try to score points."

Utah moved within one game of eighth-place Sacramento for the Western Conference's final playoff spot with three games left. New Orleans is two games back of Utah and three behind Sacramento.

"We're still in it," Williams said. "We haven't been eliminated yet. We've just got to keep fighting."

Kirilenko led Utah with 25 points, nine rebounds, seven blocks and six assists. Carlos Boozer added 23 points and Mehmet Okur scored 20 but saw his streak of four straight double-doubles end. Utah's winning streak reached five, matching its longest of the season

Kirilenko said he didn't know if that meant the Jazz were playing their best basketball coming down the stretch.

"Sometimes we don't play good but win. I think that's the point," Kirilenko said. "Right now, we need to win. It doesn't matter how we play."

David West had 31 points -- the second-highest total of his career -- and grabbed 12 rebounds to lead New Orleans, which wore white jerseys with Oklahoma City on the front for their final regular-season game here. They had been wearing jerseys with Hornets on the front for all home games.

He hit two free throws with 2 seconds left to put New Orleans into the lead, then put back Rasual Butler's missed 3-pointer on the Hornets' next possession for a 100-97 edge before the Jazz rushed back with six straight points.

Kirilenko put Utah up 103-100 when he took an inbounds pass and banked in a layup but the Hornets got two free throws apiece from Speedy Claxton and Desmond Mason for a 104-103 lead.

Okur missed two 3-pointers for Utah, but the Jazz rebounded both and Williams sank two free throws that ended up being the difference.

The Jazz moved above .500 for the first time since Jan. 20, when a loss to Denver dropped them to 20-20.

The only way the Hornets can make the playoffs is by winning their final three games -- all on the road -- while the Kings and Jazz lose their last three.

"Anything can happen," Paul said. "As long as we have a chance, we're going to keep fighting and keep playing."

The Jazz trailed by as many as 15 in the second quarter but rallied back to take their first lead since the opening minute when Boozer drove for a layup that made it 89-88 with 7:41 to play. Snyder drove for a two-handed dunk that provided the first of eight lead changes down the stretch.

Game notes

It was the first time the Jazz played a road game decided by three points or less this season. ... New Orleans forward Aaron Williams sat out after injuring his right knee Wednesday against Seattle. ... The Hornets had their 18th sellout in 36 Oklahoma City games, finishing with average attendance of 18,717. ... The Jazz were outrebounded for the first time in 16 games, with the final margin 39-37.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


Team Stat Comparison

Points 105 104
FGM-FGA 36-77 (.468) 39-83 (.470)
3PM-3PA 5-14 (.357) 3-10 (.300)
FTM-FTA 28-31 (.903) 23-26 (.885)
Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 11-37 12-39
Assists 17 13
Turnovers 10 8
Steals 3 5
Blocks 10 4
Fast Break Points 6 8
Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 19 (0/0) 23 (0/0)
Largest Lead 3 15

Top Performers

No/oklahoma City
Andrei Kirilenko Kirilenko
Points: 25
Reb: 9
Ast: 6
Stl: 1
Blk: 7
David West West
Points: 31
Reb: 12
Ast: 1
Stl: 0
Blk: 2