SALT LAKE CITY — Amid the faltering offense of the Utah Jazz late in the game against the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday evening, there was a bright spot.
Although Randy Foye missed his forced 3-point shot at the buzzer as the Jazz fell 116-114 at EnergySolutions Arena, it was the effort of the veteran guard throughout that put the home team in position to take that game-winning attempt.
“He had a big game,” Jazz points guard Jamaal Tinsley said of Foye. “The first two quarters, he made tough shots. Being aggressive, making shots, that’s what we need. With Mo (Williams) not here, Randy needs to pick up the scoring, and that’s what he did tonight.”
Foye scored a season-high and team-best 28 points, nearly tripling his average of 10.3 points per game. He was outdone only by the Clippers’ superstar Chris Paul with 29 points. Foye shot 61.5 percent and hit five of his team’s nine 3-pointers. He was also 7 for 8 from the foul line, grabbed five rebounds, and at just 6-foot-4, blocked a Jamal Crawford shot inside the paint when the Jazz held a one-point lead with 4:31 remaining.
“I was just aggressive,” Foye said of his performance. “I had a couple, two weeks where I wasn’t shooting the ball as well as I wanted to. I just got back in the gym. I was just working.”
He then added, “I wasn’t saying, ‘hey, I need to have a big night.’ My whole thing was just continuing to work. Repetition, shots, whatever I needed to do to get my shot going, I was willing to do.”
The time in the gym did wonders as the sixth-year player out of Villanova scored 13 of the first 19 Jazz points and rallied the team from an early deficit.
In the fourth quarter, he came to the rescue again. With just 18.5 seconds remaining, Foye attacked the basket, drew a foul on DeAndre Jordan, and hit both foul shots to pull the Jazz within one point, 113-112.
“I just attacked,” Foye said of the play. “(Jordan) was kind of playing chess because he knew I wanted to shoot and he jumped up on me. I drove past him, got to the line.”
With 3.4 seconds remaining, the Jazz put the ball back in Foye’s hands.
“(Matt Barnes) kind of played back a little bit,” he said of his game-winning attempt. “I pump faked, he knew that I wanted to shoot the 3 and I felt contact. He made me go straight up and shoot the ball straight down. It was just a tough play.”
The shot rimmed out and the game was over, but the Jazz will have another shot at the Clippers with a trip to Los Angeles on Sunday.
“(We) just have to go out there and we’ve got to give our all,” Foye said. “If we give this effort again, we’ll be in good shape.”
Sarah Thomas is a graduate of the University of Utah and has been covering sports for the Deseret News since 2008. EMAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org