This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2007, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Just the other day, Andrei Kirilenko was worrying aloud that the Jazz were at risk of giving their fans heart attacks with the breakneck pace and frenzied, agonizing peril of their playoff series against the Golden State Warriors.
But now, he must be downright panicked.
In a game loaded with enough action, drama and pulsating excitement to kill an average man, the Jazz beat the Warriors 127-117 in overtime of Game 2 of the best-of-seven series at sold-out EnergySolutions Arena on Wednesday night - leaving fans everywhere breathless and exhilarated at the increasingly realistic prospect of reaching the NBA's Western Conference Finals.
"This was a great game," the Jazz's Carlos Boozer said.
And the Jazz won it in impossibly palpitating fashion, surviving a frightening neck injury to rookie guard Dee Brown, fighting back from a five-point deficit in the last minute of regulation, reaching overtime on Deron Williams' jumper with 2.3 seconds left in the fourth quarter (as well as Baron Davis' miss at the horn) - and finally pulling away in overtime when veteran Derek Fisher buried a defibrillating three-point shot not even an hour after reaching the arena following a long trip to deal with the discovery of a tumor behind the eye of his 10-month-old daughter.
"I don't even have words," Fisher said. "Had I had to shoot the ball any time before that, I probably would have threw it all the way over the rim. But it was just perfect timing. I had played enough minutes where I had settled into the game and started to feel like myself again. I just told myself . . . that an opportunity was going to come and I needed to be ready to shoot."
The emotional moment with 1:06 left gave the Jazz a 123-117 lead, and they held on by making four straight free throws while the Warriors missed three straight shots and continually failed to grab a rebound - something that's quickly becoming the hallmark of this series.
The Jazz once again annihilated the smaller Warriors on the glass, grabbing 60 rebounds while allowing just 32, to survive an onslaught of 15 three-pointers and 36 points from Davis. The Warriors also missed three of four free throws in the last 16 seconds of regulation to leave the door open for the Jazz.
"The free throw betrayed us," Golden State coach Don Nelson said. "It was right there. All we had to was make free throws, but we didn't do it."
The Jazz did, however.
Boozer scored 30 points and grabbed 13 rebounds to lead the way, and they enjoyed contributions from all corners.
Williams dominated the fourth quarter and overtime after losing his battle with Davis for the first three quarters, in part because of foul trouble. Mehmet Okur had 23 points and 18 rebounds - including a long jumper in the waning seconds of regulation that propelled the Jazz rally. Even rookies Paul Millsap and Ronnie Brewer dominated when they were on the floor, after Millsap played poorly in Game 1 of the series and Brewer played just four minutes in the entire postseason.
Oh, and don't forget Andrei Kirilenko, scoring 20 points, blocking six shots - and playing point guard for a spell while Williams was in foul trouble, Brown was hurt, and Fisher was still missing.
"We had to play," coach Jerry Sloan said. "They're not going to call the game when you have problems like that and say, 'Let's change,' or whatever. We just had to stay with it, and I think we held in there pretty well."
The Jazz now head to Golden State for Game 3 on Friday night, though the prognosis for Brown is uncertain.
The rookie was injured in the first quarter when Okur fell on his head during a rebounding scramble, and he had to be helped from the floor gingerly before being taken to the hospital. Medical tests were normal, the Jazz said, but Brown did not return.
Fisher, however, headed straight for the scorer's table once he arrived in the third quarter from a trip to New York with his family, and checked in immediately. The crowd erupted in a huge ovation, and after the game, several of Fisher's former teammates on the Warriors hugged him in support.
"He's a big-time player," Williams said. "He's a special player. He's hit big shots all his career. For him to do what he did . . . He got off the plane, he didn't warm up, he didn't stretch. He didn't shoot a jump shot. . . . There's not enough that could be said about him."