Less than two minutes remained, and Al Jefferson found himself on the perimeter. Unlike the last time he was that far out late in a game — you’ll recall the ugly air ball that led to overtime two nights earlier — what Jefferson did here Wednesday had little consequence on the Jazz’s eventual 100-86 romp over the Milwaukee Bucks.
But the shot clock was at 3, and Jefferson was running out of options, so he made a couple of half-hearted dribbles at Bucks center Samuel Dalembert and threw up a 22-foot jumper as he fell to his right.
A prayer. A joke. A droll shot that grazed the glass and somehow snapped the net as it came back to earth in front of 18,571 at EnergySolutions Arena.
"Pretty lucky," Jefferson would later say. "I probably wouldn’t make it again in the next five tries."
But by that point in the evening, not much that Jefferson or any of the other Jazz big men did was particularly surprising.
Against a team that was down its starting center, the Jazz (28-22) did something they always talk about but less often accomplish.
They imposed their will.
Jefferson? Recorded his 24th double-double of the season with 19 points and 11 rebounds. Paul Millsap scored 17 points and blocked four shots.
But the best, and most critical, post performances came from the reserves, the Jazz’s frontcourt-in-waiting, Enes Kanter and Derrick Favors.
Kanter scored 17 points, grabbed nine rebounds, blocked a career-high five shots and led a Jazz resurgence in the second quarter after his team fell behind by 12 points in the first. His 11 points in 31/2 minutes may have been the best of his career. Favors, meanwhile, blocked three shots, scored nine points and pulled down 11 rebounds.
Utah Jazz go big in 100-86 win over Bucks
Salt Lake Tribune | Feb 7