SALT LAKE CITY – Mo Williams smiled, looked down briefly, sighed and let the question hang in the air.
He had been asked about a key foul called on him late in Utah’s 105-104 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers. He obviously didn’t want to answer for fear of losing some money from the NBA front office. When the question was rephrased a couple of minutes later, his answer was the same.
However coach Tyrone Corbin wasn’t afraid to talk about Dick Bavetta’s foul call on Chauncey Billups' 3-point shot with 1:14 left that allowed the Clippers to tie the score. Williams was whistled for the foul as he went by Billups with what appeared to be minimal contact, although Billups made it look a lot worse.
“Big call,’’ Corbin said. “The referee saw it a different way, but I thought we did everything we could to challenge the shot and it gave them three shots.’’
Corbin continued, “I thought it may have been an offensive foul because one of the points of emphasis (for officials) is you can’t flail your arms and legs out. Mo did a good job of challenging the shot. I thought he tried to get to the side of it.’’
There was a lot of time left after that, but it was the last time the Jazz led in a game they appeared to have in the bag for three-and-a-half quarters.
Al Jefferson had a similar response to Williams when he was asked about the lack of free throws for the Jazz big men – just five for the game and a big zero for Big Al.
“Don’t get me in trouble, man’’ he said. When someone said his lack of free throws had happened before, he said “I’m pretty sure it’s not going to be the last.’’
Again, Corbin talked about the fact that the Clippers took 24 free throws, making 17, compared to the Jazz’s 11 of 15.
“That’s the thing, we’re doing everything we can to get (to the line) tonight,’’ Corbin said. “We’re an attack-inside team first and for whatever reason other teams seem to get more free throws than we do.’’
There were a couple of other late calls that had the Jazz shaking their heads, such as a loose-ball foul on DeMarre Carroll when he and Paul Millsap were battling for a loose ball with Blake Griffin with a little more than three minutes left.6 comments on this story
“Me, Paul and Blake were just scrambling for the ball,’’ Carroll said. “He just happened to fall and they called a foul on me, but you know, you've got to respect the call. You've got to respect the game. It was just three competitors going for the ball and I got called for the foul.’’
In the end, the Jazz had no one to blame but themselves for blowing a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter.
“It was just some tough situations that didn’t go our way,’’ Williams said.