Jefferson's tip-in gives Jazz fifth straight winMar 23, 2012 - 6:47 AM Sacramento, CA (Sports Network) - Al Jefferson netted 26 points, including the game-winning tip-in within the final second of action, as the Utah Jazz held off a late surge by the Sacramento Kings to take a 103-102 victory at Power Balance Pavilion.
Gordon Hayward added 18 points, seven rebounds and five assists, while Devin Harris finished with 14 points and Derrick Favors contributed a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds in Utah's fifth straight win.
"We're playing for a full 48 minutes. The guys are trusting one another," said Harris. "They are really finishing out games and paying attention to detail."
The Jazz remained a half-game behind Houston for the final playoff spot in the West after the Rockets also won on Thursday.
Tyreke Evans paced the Kings with 25 points and DeMarcus Cousins had 22 points and 18 rebounds as Sacramento closed out a franchise record nine-game homestand with a 5-4 record.
The Jazz held an 87-77 lead entering the fourth quarter after controlling the majority of the action, but Sacramento outscored Utah by a mark of 15-4 over the first five-plus minutes of the fourth to take a 92-91 lead when Evans made the front end of two free throws with 6:25 left in the game.
The remainder of the contest saw neither team go ahead by more than two points as the lead changed hands nine times over the final six minutes.
After Jefferson's jumper tied the game at 97 with 1:36 left, Jason Thompson missed a pair of go-ahead free throws, leading to Harris' jumper that gave the Jazz a 99-97 lead with 66 ticks on the clock.
Isaiah Thomas missed an open three-point attempt on the other end, but the rebound went out of bounds off of Utah's Alec Burks with 30 seconds left in the game.
Marcus Thornton took advantage of the second chance with a quick three from the left wing off the inbounds pass, but Burks' driving baseline layup put the Jazz back on top, 101-100.
Coming out of a timeout with 8.3 seconds left, Thornton grabbed the inbounds pass at the top of the key and finished with a driving layup with 4.1 on the clock for what appeared to be the game-winner.
However, Harris attempted a floater in the lane on Utah's ensuing possession that was falling well short of the rim before Jefferson leapt in front and tipped it through for the game-deciding basket with 0.9 showing.
"We did everything we could to get ourselves back in the game based on how we were playing," Kings head coach Keith Smart said. "We were one rebound away from taking it home."
Neither team took a lead larger than three points over a back-and-forth opening five minutes of the contest that saw three ties and three lead changes until consecutive baskets by Cousins and Thompson gave the Kings a 20-16 advantage at the midpoint of the first.
After the teams traded field goals over the next four possessions, Utah closed out the opening frame with a 10-2 run to hold a 30-26 lead at the end of the first.
The Jazz carried that momentum into the second quarter, opening the frame with an 8-0 run to jump out to a 38-26 lead.
Sacramento was held at arm's length for the next six minutes before an Evans layup was followed by a Jimmer Fredette three-pointer to cut the deficit to 50-44, but Utah answered with an 8-2 spurt to retake a double-digit lead and take a 58-48 advantage into the break.
The Kings used an early 10-4 run in the third to close the gap to six, 64-58, but Harris later recorded five points in an 8-0 spurt by Utah to stretch its lead up to 76-62 with five minutes left in the quarter.
Sacramento again got within six, 78-72, with a late 6-0 swing, but the Jazz closed out the third with a 7-3 flurry and held an 87-77 advantage entering the fourth quarter.
Thompson had to be helped off the court after Jefferson's game-winning shot with a leg injury...Sacramento outscored Utah in the paint, 70-54...The Kings held a 55-45 advantage on the glass...Thompson had 19 points and 15 rebounds...The game had a total of 14 lead changes and eight ties.
- UTAH: 103
Mar 23 12:26 AM
- UTAH: 87
End of 3rd
Mar 22 11:41 PM
- UTAH: 58
Mar 22 11:02 PM
- UTAH: 30
End of 1st
Mar 22 10:36 PM
- UTAH: 0
1st Quarter - 12:00
Mar 22 10:12 PM
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