This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
With the Jazz in danger of losing their grip on Tuesday night's game against Cleveland, they turned to Josh Howard.
It turned out to be a good idea.
Howard scored 11 of his 17 points in the fourth quarter, when Utah kept the Cavaliers at arm's length during a 113-105 victory at EnergySolutions Arena. In almost 26 minutes, Howard also contributed four rebounds and three assists as the Jazz won their fifth in a row.
"He's been doing a tremendous job," said coach Tyrone Corbin. "… He's just a treat to have because he gives us such a different look off the bench."
Throughout his career, Howard has been able to score because his size and quickness make him a difficult matchup for opposing players.
Over the years, Utah has not had many players with his skill-set one capable of creating his own offense like Howard.
"He's a guy who makes big-time plays … and he's just flourishing," Corbin said. "I can't say how happy I am that he's on our team.
"His attitude is tremendous. He's working every day and has gotten in better shape. And it's only going to get better going forward."
Against the Cavs, Howard provided offense when the Jazz needed it most.
With 9:16 remaining, he grabbed an offensive rebound and dropped in a floater to make it 89-82.
With 6:15 left, Howard converted a three-point play to give Utah a 94-85 lead.
With 3:48 to play, he drove to the basket, drew the defense and assisted on Al Jefferson's jumper that pushed the Jazz's lead to 100-89.
"Like I've been saying … it's a process," Howard said. "[But] this is one of my best games, as far as defending good and having my wind, so I just have to keep truckin'."
Significantly, Howard has blended in with his new team after signing as a free agent before the shortened season started.
"I was just excited to get the opportunity to come here," Howard said. "It's been a blessing. Now I'm taking it and running with it.
"I just use my knowledge of the game and my upside, as far as taking advantage of mismatches, and helping my team win."
Another veteran, Earl Watson, knows how important a player like Howard can be for a team that can sometimes struggle to score.
"It's valuable … and you take advantage of that," Watson said. "Every night it's somebody different. As long as we continue to manage that and let everyone have their moment, I think good things will happen."
Coming up clutch
Josh Howard's statistics during the fourth quarter of the Jazz's win over Cleveland:
Min FGs FTs Reb Ast Stl Pts
12:00 4-5 3-4 3 2 1 11