Jazz reverse trend, play with some fire
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Jazz 96, T-wolves 93

IN SHORT - The Jazz, admonished by their own after Monday's win over Orlando, played more aggressively Wednesday to get their fifth victory in eight games.

KEY STAT - Guards Deron Williams and Milt Palacio combined for Utah's first 18 points.

KEY MOMENT - Minnesota's Trenton Hassell missed a three-pointer in the final seconds to let the Jazz escape with the win.

With 10 seconds remaining and the Jazz ahead by five points, Jazz owner Larry H. Miller got up from his courtside seat during a timeout and strolled across the court in the direction of the Jazz bench.

But unlike Monday when he stopped to give a tirade, this time he didn't even glance at the players as he headed into the tunnel leading to the locker room. Apparently, he'd done all the coaching, or coaxing, he was going to do.

The Jazz, playing with more inspiration than they've shown in the last several games, defeated Minnesota 96-93 in front of 17,490 fans at the Delta Center to remain 1 1/2 games behind Los Angeles for the eighth playoff spot.

Maybe they finally realized they need to actually win games to be in a playoff race, talking about doing so doesn't count, or maybe they wanted to just avoid another lashing from their owner.

"Me, personally, I took it a little tough because I've never seen anything like that happen

before," said guard Milt Palacio of Miller's outburst Monday directed toward Jazz front office personnel, then the players afterward. "For him to address the team, I think it was something like we were a little soft, so I just wanted to come out and play aggressive and get to the basket."

Palacio did, scoring nine of his 11 points in the opening quarter. He and Deron Williams combined for Utah's first 18 points and Williams tied his career high with 24 points.

"We worked well together," Williams said of his performance with Palacio. "We kind of got our chemistry going and he knows where I'm at and I know where he's at, especially late in the shot clock."

Williams made five three-pointers, including four in the third quarter when he scored 12 of Utah's 21 points.

"We haven't been a good outside-shooting team, and that's why a lot of teams have zoned us," Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said. "Tonight I felt we made some shots after we got settled down a bit, and it made things a lot easier for us."

Kevin Garnett led Minnesota with 26 points and Marko Jaric added 20.

With Williams and Palacio leading the offense, Andrei Kirilenko was his usual roaming self. Sometimes his eagerness to guard everyone gets him in trouble. On Wednesday it just gave him a lot of stats. He finished with 15 points, 11 rebounds, 8 assists and 8 blocks. He was three steals away from a 5x5, although he did get one if you want to count his five turnovers.

"I never have a problem with Miller or the coaching staff or other players coming to me if we're playing bad," Kirilenko said. "Nobody likes to lose. I like to win. I feel bad when we lose until the next game. I don't even like to go out and for people to see me."

This game though, easily could have made Kirilenko a hermit until Dallas comes to town Saturday. It nearly ended in as unsatisfying fashion as Monday's 90-85 win over the Magic. Then, the Jazz let a 20-point cushion slip away.

On Wednesday, they let Ricky Davis have an open three-point attempt with 12.9 seconds to go and the Jazz up 93-90. Both Williams and Kirilenko got sucked into the middle, allowing him the cushion. Their play was mistake No. 1.

After Matt Harpring was fouled at the other end and made two free throws, Davis connected on another three-pointer with 8.1 seconds to go. Williams was fouled with 6.2 seconds left and he made the first, then missed the second.

Minnesota's Trenton Hassell got the rebound and raced down the court. Utah had a foul to give, but never used it, as Hassell attempted a twisting three-pointer in the final seconds.

Utah's poor execution could have been mistake No. 2, and probably would have elicited a tirade from Sloan, and or Miller, even if Utah had gone on to win in overtime.

"Those things are critical mistakes and you've got to understand what's going on regardless of the excitement or the anxiety or whatever goes through you," Sloan said.

Luckily for everyone, Miller wasn't around to see the breakdowns.

Jazz 96,

Timberwolves 93

FG FT Reb

MINNESOTA Min M-A M-A O-T A PF Pts

Hassell 44:47 2-8 1-2 1-3 4 3 5

Garnett 42:43 11-15 4-5 4-13 1 2 26

Blount 28:02 2-7 2-3 0-3 1 2 6

Banks 15:44 1-4 2-2 0-1 1 4 4

Davis 38:00 5-10 3-4 2-3 6 2 14

Jaric 32:16 6-8 5-6 0-4 2 4 20

Reed 13:34 1-1 0-0 1-3 0 4 2

McCants 24:54 6-14 0-0 1-4 0 1 16

Totals 240:00 34-67 17-22 9-34 15 22 93

Percentages: FG .507, FT .773. Three-Point Goals: 8-13, .615 (McCants 4-7, Jaric 3-3, Davis 1-3). Team Rebounds: 14. Team Turnovers: 14 (12 PTS). Blocked Shots: 6 (Garnett 2, Banks, Blount, Hassell, Jaric). Turnovers: 13 (Davis 5, Garnett 3, Banks 2, Blount, Jaric, Reed). Steals: 8 (Jaric 4, Banks, Garnett, Hassell, McCants). Technical Fouls: Defensive Three Second, 8:13 second; Defensive Three Second, 3:35 second.

FG FT Reb

UTAH Min M-A M-A O-T A PF Pts

Kirilenko 43:04 4-12 6-11 3-11 8 1 15

Okur 26:41 2-6 2-2 0-3 2 3 6

Collins 21:12 2-3 0-0 1-4 1 3 4

Williams 42:34 9-20 1-4 1-2 7 4 24

Palacio 23:16 5-11 1-1 0-2 1 1 11

Boozer 26:19 5-8 2-2 3-6 1 1 12

Harpring 26:46 5-9 4-4 2-5 2 0 15

Brown 24:42 2-5 1-2 2-4 2 1 6

McLeod 5:26 1-3 0-0 0-0 1 1 3

Totals 240:00 35-77 17-26 12-37 25 15 96

Percentages: FG .455, FT .654. Three-Point Goals: 9-16, .562 (Williams 5-9, Brown 1-1, Harpring 1-2, Kirilenko 1-2, McLeod 1-2). Team Rebounds: 4. Team Turnovers: 14 (16 PTS). Blocked Shots: 8 (Kirilenko 8). Turnovers: 13 (Kirilenko 5, Boozer 2, Okur 2, Palacio 2, Harpring, McLeod). Steals: 7 (Kirilenko 2, Williams 2, Boozer, Harpring, Palacio). Technical Fouls: None.

Minnesota 24 26 18 25 -93

Utah 24 25 21 26 -96

A - 17,490 (19,911). T - 2:10. Officials: Bernie Fryer, Phil Robinson, James Capers.