With Sloan ejected, Jazz hold off Kings

Posted: Sunday, April 27, 2003

SALT LAKE CITY 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.

Bucks 119, Nets 114, OT

MILWAUKEE The Milwaukee Bucks squandered a 14-point lead in the final 6 1/2 minutes of regulation, and they probably would have lost the game if the New Jersey Nets had made a few free throws.

Toni Kukoc hit two big 3-pointers in overtime and Michael Redd added a third as Milwaukee defeated New Jersey 119-114 Saturday to even their first-round series at two games apiece.

Milwaukee managed just one free throw over the final 6 minutes of regulation. But the Nets, despite scoring 14 unanswered points to tie the game 99-99, missed nine free throws in the final 3:49.

Kukoc came off the bench to lead Milwaukee with 23 points, while Gary Payton had 20 points and 14 assists, tying his career-high for a playoff game.

Game 5 is Tuesday in New Jersey.

Hornets 99, 76ers 85

NEW ORLEANS The New Orleans Hornets didn't need Jamal Mashburn to claw back into their first-round playoff series. A hobbled Baron Davis turned out to be more than enough.

Davis, wearing a thick blue sleeve over his strained and bruised left knee, scored 28 points on everything from 3-pointers to slicing drives to floaters, leading the Hornets to a 99-85 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday night.

The victory pulled the Hornets to 2-1 in the series, with Game 4 coming up Monday night.

Jamaal Magloire and P.J. Brown followed through on their promise to be more of a force inside. Magloire had 18 points and nine rebounds, while Brown had 17 points and 12 rebounds. Jerome Moiso, seeing his first action of the series, scored 10 points, all in the fourth quarter as the Hornets pulled away.

Allen Iverson led the Sixers with 28 points, but he had only eight in the second half when he wasn't much of a factor. Keith Van Horn, Kenny Thomas and Derrick Coleman each added 12 for Philadelphia.

Mashburn, the Hornets' leading scorer, dislocated and chipped a bone in his right middle finger during Wednesday's 90-85 loss in Philadelphia.

Davis reaggravated a left knee injury when he landed awkwardly after a layup in Game 1 in Philadelphia, then sat out Game 2.

Davis refrained from soaring layups or dunk attempts in the game, but he seemed nimble as ever on the dribble drive, routinely creating scoring opportunities for both himself and teammates.

New Orleans also was far more assertive on the boards, where the Hornets were beaten by Philadelphia in Game 2. They outrebounded the Sixers 51-33, with 21 rebounds on offense, including one that set up a 3-pointer by Wesley in the second quarter that pulled the Hornets to 44-43.

On the following possession, New Orleans maintained possession after missing three shots before finally getting a pair of points from Brown at the foul line to retake the lead, 45-44.

Brown finished with seven offensive rebounds, compared to six for the Sixers. New Orleans ended up with 12 offensive rebounds in the first half alone, allowing them to take a 47-46 lead into halftime despite shooting only 36 percent.

The Sixers led 60-54 after Iverson darted out from the baseline for an off-balance floater, but Brown then scored six straight points on a drive, a pair of free throws and a fallaway that was set up by Davis. Magloire completed an 8-0 run with two free throws to give the Hornets a 62-60 lead.

Aaron McKie's first points of the game on a drive on which he got fouled put Philadelphia up 63-62, but that would be the Sixers' last lead as Kenny Anderson responded with a double-pump shot as he got shut off and fouled on a baseline drive.

Davis then hit a pair of 3-pointers early in the fourth quarter, the second giving New Orleans an 82-71 lead and prompting Davis, bad knee and all, to leap with his hands in the air as the crowd went wild.

Notes: New Orleans is known as a last-minute town, and tickets were available for the first ever NBA playoff game here right up to tipoff. The game ultimately was announced as a standing-room-only sellout of 17,320. ... New Orleans fans had mostly cheered Iverson during the Sixers' regular season visit, prompting coach Larry Brown to say they seemed to open their hearts to him. They weren't as gracious with Philadelphia returning as a playoff foe. Iverson was roundly booed when he came out for warmups and when he checked into the game. The crowd also erupted when Iverson was called for a technical after arguing a non call when he missed a reverse layup. ... Davis ended up playing 40 minutes after coach Paul Silas said beforehand that he hoped to keep Davis closer to 30 minutes.

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