Utah Jazz: How will the Jazz fare after thrilling win?
SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Jazz's pandemonium-inciting win over the mighty Cleveland Cavaliers and the even mightier LeBron James late Thursday night, no doubt, will be remembered and talked about for years.
And Sundiata Gaines' future grandkids won't be the only ones doing the listening.
Yep, this nationally televised thriller — a 97-96 Jazz heart-pounding, nail-biting victory highlighted by a last-second, game-winning 3-pointer by the new kid on the block, some eye-popping plays by Kyle Korver, comebacks galore and an all-around wild fourth quarter — will go down as one of the franchise's magical moments.
The buzz lasted long after the buzzer-beater and well after Utah's celebrating rookie hero came down off of the scorer's table.
Less than 12 hours after shocking James and his 30-11 Cavs crew — and providing sports media and fans with one heckuva story — the surging 22-17 Jazz reconvened for practice and were still acting giddy and geeked on Friday morning.
And not just the players, mind you.
"It was wonderful to see it happen," said Jazz coach Jerry Sloan, whose team hosts the Milwaukee Bucks tonight. "Our players are very excited about it and our coaches are very excited about it."
Gaines, the 10-day man of the hour, was still trying to avoid pinching himself.
"You can't really describe it," said the former D-League player, who earned a second 10-day contract before his big shot and perhaps much more after the play. "You can talk about it as much as possible, but the feeling is something else, and miraculous."
Korver — the man who made the overlooked Miracle Shot No. 1 in the final seconds — called it one of the top five finishes he's ever seen.
Andrei Kirilenko described the ending as being "crazy" and "unbelievable to watch" on TV, something he and Deron Williams had to do from the training room because of injuries.
Wesley Matthews was still raving about the win, too.
"It was amazing," he said. "It was a lot of fun, and I was glad I was able to be a part of it."
But while most of the buzzing has reverberated on Gaines' shot — and deservingly so — there were certainly other buzz-worthy moments in Utah's third-straight win.
Such as when Korver looked like he'd decided to try out for the Harlem Globetrotters.
In the official play-by-play report, Korver's tricky basket, which trimmed LeBron's lead to 95-94 with 5.9 seconds left, was simply called a 19-foot jump shot. No mention that the sharpshooter hurriedly got and shot the ball from behind the basket at an angle on the baseline while falling out of bounds.
What was Korver thinking?
Even he was surprised at what was going through his mind.
When he was younger, the shooting guard used to watch Larry Bird hit a behind-the-bucket shot on a video called "Dazzling Dunks and Basketball Bloopers." The fond memory popped in his head as he rushed over to get the inbounds pass from Paul Millsap and then put up a quick shot to ensure the Jazz could still foul and have time for a last-second attempt.
"I just remember the announcer. He's like, 'Over the backboard, ooooh!' " Korver recalled. "And I was thinking about that as I caught it and I was like, 'OK, it's over the backboard!' "
Ooooh! Just like he's done against his brothers and friends for years.
"I've shot that shot hundreds of times in H-O-R-S-E games," he said. "It's just what you do."
It wasn't the only highlight-reel-worthy Korver play.
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