The Jazz got a little defensive when the lowly Cleveland Cavaliers took them into overtime Friday night.
The Jazz came up with four blocked shots in the final 2:30 of the overtime, and grabbed a 106-99 victory before 16,530 at The Coliseum.Thurl Bailey and Mark Eaton each blocked two shots late in the overtime and John Stockton scored five of his game-high 27 points in the OT.
"Those four blocks were obviously important to us," said Jazz Coach Jery Sloan. "I think we came up with the ball in all four instances and we came away with four more possessions."
The Jazz were leading 101-97 when Bailey came up with a block of Larry Nance, who matched Stockton with 27 points. "I kind of used Mark as a decoy," said Bailey with a smile. "There was a pick against Larry and he thought he was past Mark."
The next time Eaton blocked Danny Ferry and Stockton was fouled on a fast break at the other end. Then it was Bailey's turn as he blocked Ferry in the lane, leading to a Karl Malone score. The final block was Eaton's on a Gerald Paddio shot after the game was out of reach.
"I thought we did a really good job defensively in the overtime - we were just so-so the rest of the game," said Eaton. "It was kind of like, now or never."
After seemingly taking control with a 51-49 halftime lead, the Jazz could never shake the pesky Cavs. Utah led by seven after the third quarter and 87-80 with a little over five minutes left.
But the Cavs, behind backup guards Paddio and John Morton came back. Paddio scored 10 in the fourth quarter and his 3-pointer with 1:45 left brought the Cavs within 93-91. The Cavs tied it with 25.2 seconds left when Brad Daugherty followed up a Paddio miss.
The Jazz had a chance to win it in regulation, but Jeff Malone's 18-footer with 3 seconds left bounced off the iron and Eaton's follow tip was short.
In the overtime, Stockton hit a pair of free throws and scored on a nice drive under the basket. Eaton made a big play with the Jazz up 99-97 when he tipped in a Bailey miss at the 2:39 mark.
"It was an isolation play and it came off on my side," said Eaton of his only basket of the game.
Then the Jazz came up with the key blocks, which "made it easier to get shots at the other end," said Stockton. Besides Stockton's 27 points, Karl Malone had 26 points and Jeff Malone 22 points. Bailey added 16 off the bench.
Like they had in their win over San Antonio three nights earlier, the Jazz started slow. They fell behind 10-2 and trailed 24-17 after one quarter.
The Jazz looked out of synch and a step slow and Sloan kept exhorting his troops "Move, don't stand."
In the first quarter alone Thurl Bailey missed a dunk, Jeff Malone missed a wide-open layup off an inbounds play, Karl Malone fired an air ball and Stockton missed consecutive free throws. "It seemed like we struggled from the start and couldn't get into a flow the whole game," said Sloan.
The Jazz started their trapping defense in the second quarter and it paid off in several Cav turnovers. The Jazz took their first lead at 41-40 on a Jeff Malone fallaway and went into the locker room leading 51-49 when Bailey sank a 12-foot baseline jumper just before the buzzer. Jeff Malone scored 10 in the second quarter and he, Karl Malaone and Stockton accounted for 40 of the Jazz's 51 first-half points.
GAME NOTES: The Jazz took a charter flight immediately after the game for Indianapolis, where they will play the Indiana Pacers tonight (5:30 p.m. MST) . . . Ferry, the former No. 2 draft choice of the L.A. Clippers, who played in Italy last year, has played sparingly as a reserve forward for the Cavaliers, averaging 8.3 points in 19 minutes a game. Friday he had 12 points in 36 minutes . . . John 'Hot Rod' Williams, who signed that huge contract before the season, has played in just nine games this year, but will return from an injury in two weeks . . . The Cavs announced the signing for the remainder of the season of 6-9 forward Henry James, who has averaged 14.1 points since being signed to a pair of 10-day contracts . . . After tonight's game with Indiana, the Jazz return home for five of six home games, beginning Wednesday against New York.