NBA • Jumpin' Jazz flash was a gas, gas, gas for Sloan, fans.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2011, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
In a second quarter filled with plays destined for the highlight reel, it was Utah's second unit that unleashed its version of "Showtime." They played a pivotal role in handing the sinking Cleveland Cavaliers their 12th consecutive loss, 121-99.
Days after absorbing a 55-point beating by the Los Angeles Lakers, the more determined Cavaliers remained within striking distance, trailing by six after the first period.
Then C.J. Miles, Earl Watson and Ronnie Price came off the bench to spark a 17-6 run to open the second quarter. Their defense, passing and power to the basket brought 19,911 fans inside EnergySolutions Arena to their feet in spontaneous roars of approval.
Utah scored 39 points in the second period and 70 for the half.
"I don't know when I've seen a run like that, where a team played that well and had that many assists," Utah coach Jerry Sloan said. "It was terrific basketball."
The highlight of highlights began with a Price steal. The Jazz guard fed Watson, who delivered a behind-the-back pass to Andrei Kirilenko in the lane. Instead of shooting, Kirilenko spotted Price streaking toward the hoop. Kirilenko also went behind the back, as the befuddled Cavaliers could only watch.
"Coach Sloan designed the play," Watson said to laughs. "It was a great play by A.K. My pass was quick, instinctual. He has a knack for that."
Moments later, Price swiped the ball again and found Watson. This time, Watson hit Miles in stride, and the Jazz forward hammered home a vicious dunk, drawing a foul.
"It was definitely something that changed the momentum, bringing a different energy to the arena," Watson said of Price's hoop. "The very next play, C.J. gets an and-one dunk, which is one of the top plays of the year, probably."
Watson and company also played a deciding role in the final period. The Cavs closed to single digits late in the third quarter. Once more, however, Miles, who scored 20 points, led a bench charge that pushed the Jazz lead back toward 20.
Overall, the Utah bench added 39 points, nine steals and 11 assists.
"That was definitely one of the most fun plays I've seen all year," said Miles of the second quarter passing display. "If A.K.'s in the mix, there's always going to be something crazy going on.
"It was basketball."
By the numbers
• Behind C.J. Miles' 20 points, Utah's bench contributes 39 points, nine steals and 11 assists.
• The Jazz's second unit goes on a 17-6 run to open a 39-point second quarter.