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Utah Jazz: Othyus Jeffers comes back to haunt Jazz with hustle

Published: Tuesday, March 29 2011 12:52 a.m. MDT

SALT LAKE CITY — The Washington Wizards couldn't beat the Toronto Raptors, Minnesota Timberwolves, New Jersey Nets (minus Deron Williams) or Sacramento Kings on the road this season.

Othyus Jeffers was let go by the Jazz at the end of training camp when they made their final cuts.

Talk about a double-whammy for Jazz fans.

The woeful Wizards picked up just their second road victory of the season by beating the Jazz 100-95 in overtime on Monday night, and the always-hustling Jeffers gave them a boost. He had six points and six rebounds with five of the boards coming on the offensive end.

"He was great," Wizards coach Flip Saunders said of Jeffers. "Defensively, whoever he was guarding, he was pretty much in a lockdown situation. I'm happy with what he did."

Happy only begins to describe how Jeffers was feeling after the game — and not just because he helped his new team beat his old team. Jeffers is just happy to be back in the NBA after spending most of the season in the NBA Development League. He averaged 21.1 points, 9.1 rebounds and 3.1 assists in 38 games with the Iowa Energy.

Jeffers is currently on his second 10-day contract with the Wizards. He played one game with the San Antonio Spurs earlier in the season.

"I'm just happy to be in the NBA," Jeffers said. "Going to Utah is just part of the job. I was part of the team that didn't make history (with a record number of road losses). I'm just happy to be here."

Jeffers' biggest contribution came in overtime when he rebounded a miss by Jordan Crawford and then got the ball to John Wall. Wall then passed to Maurice Evans, who then drained a 3-pointer to give the Wizards an insurmountable 92-85 lead.

"(Jeffers) came in did a great job on the defensive end gave us a spark, took a charge and got a couple offensive rebounds for us," said Wall. "That's the type of energy we need."

They also needed his versatility. Jeffers, at 6-foot-3, played some power forward and rotated at guard against the Jazz. Jeffers said his former Utah teammates knew he could play so many different positions, and when he was released Jerry Sloan was sad to see him go and Deron Williams was disappointed.

Jeffers was in the game when the Wizards built a 10-point lead in the second quarter. He hit a 3-pointer and scored five points during the period. He had to rely on his hustle to make plays because his time has been limited with the Wizards.

"He hasn't really had a practice with us yet so he's kind of running out there not sure as far as what he's doing," Saunders said. "He's super competitive as most of the people here (in Utah) probably know."

Jeffers said he understands the business aspect of the NBA and holds no ill will toward the Jazz.

"I had to wait my turn," Jeffers said of his time in Utah. "It was a playoff-caliber team. The team knew what I could do. They had pieces that put in work before me. I had to bide my time. Trades happen, and then it turned to a business aspect. I learned a lot from this organization, and I wish them nothing but the best of luck."

email: aaragon@desnews.com

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