AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — His Jazz had been leading by double digits throughout the second half, and still were up by 14 when starting point guard Deron Williams and starting power forward Carlos Boozer exited with a minute-and-a-half to go in Wednesday night's 115-104 win at Detroit.
But three Jazz turnovers preceded the sub-outs, and particularly the last — Andrei Kirilenko's — had coach Jerry Sloan steaming.
Twenty-three seconds later and Detroit now within 11, Sloan called back end-of-the-bench reserves Sundiata Gaines and Kyrylo Fesenko after their ever-so-brief appearances — telling both "It's not your fault" — and re-inserted Williams and Boozer.
"I was so surprised," said Williams, who wound up having to re-wrap his wrist brace while dribbling and before taking his only final-minute shot. "I thought he was joking when he said (to go back in)."
But oh, no, he wasn't kidding at all.
"I tried to substitute a couple guys," he said. "We got cute with the basketball, and I had to win the game. It's not a matter of just making sure I get everybody in the ballgame; it's a matter of winning the game.
"I thought we would know better what to do with it when we tried to finish up," Sloan added, "but turnovers and things like that don't give you a chance to relax."
HE'S OK: He was on the receiving side of a big Hakim Warrick dunk Tuesday night in Chicago.
But Wednesday night backup point guard Ronnie Price delivered, dunking himself with style on rookie Austin Daye during a decisive 14-0 Jazz second-quarter run.
"It's about time that I'm on the other end," the Utah Valley product said.
There was, however, a price to pay.
Price hurt his right wrist, though X-rays taken at halftime were negative and he returned to play after the break.
"I landed on my leg," Price said, "so I tried to break (the fall) and put my hand down and I tweaked it."
LOOKING AHEAD: If Robin Lopez's comment about pushing a vulnerable Kirilenko in the back while he was in the air on a fastbreak during last Thursday's Jazz-Suns game is any indication, things could get interesting when Utah visits Phoenix on March 19.
Lopez was tagged with a flagrant-1 foul for the cheap shot, which later was upgraded by the NBA to a more-serious flagrant-2 violation.
Said the Suns' Lopez last Saturday about the play, according to brightsideofthesun.com: "Just basketball. We were down one at that point. Any enforcer would have made it."
ALUMNI UPDATE: He isn't back to playing yet, but according to The (Memphis) Commercial Appeal ex-Jazz shooting guard Ronnie Brewer — traded from Utah to Memphis last month — did take part Tuesday in his first noncontact practice since partially tearing his hamstring in his Grizzlies debut.20 comments on this story
"If I push it, I might be (back) this weekend. If not, early next week," Brewer told the newspaper. "I plan on getting out there and helping this team. I have to get the OK from the doctors, but I'm trying to come back soon."
TV TALK: According to the club, Jazz games on FSN Utah have garnered an average cable rating of 6.0 in 2010 with a 7.0 since February 1 — second-highest in the NBA among all team regional sports network ratings behind only the Cleveland Cavaliers.
SI FOR DWILL: Williams and the Jazz are the subject of a feature story appearing in the newest issue of Sports Illustrated penned by Ian Thomsen, who spent time with the team last week in Phoenix and Salt Lake City.