In the end, it was a kid born in Ogden who did in the Utah Jazz. Byron Scott, who was born on Mar. 28, 1961, in Ogden, scored a team-high 29 points Saturday as the Los Angeles Lakers held off the Jazz 109-89 in the decisive game 7 of their second round NBA playoff series.
Scott - the only member of the Lakers' starting backcourt who hasn't played in an NBA All-Star game (but who might play in many more to come) - made 12 of 19 shots from the field, including one three-pointer, and, as he had been all series long, was the Jazz's No. 1 nemesis.If not for Scott in this series, the Lakers would be lying on the beach instead of moving on to play Dallas in the Western Conference finals. He had 18 points in the first game, 26 in Game 2, 29 in Game 3, 20 in Game 4, 24 in Game 5, 16 in Game 6 and 29 in the finale. He was the Lakers' leading scorer for the series and the lone Laker who was consistently on his game.
"He doesn't show deference to anyone on the floor," said Lakers coach Pat Riley. "He just plays his game . . . I thought last year was his best year, and this year has topped that."
"I was just playing off Magic today," said Scott. "When I was open he got me the ball, and I just took my jump shot.
"We were playing into their hands too much (in previous games)," said Scott, "trying to drive it into Eaton all the time. This time we got out and ran, and took what was there."
For Scott, moving on to the Dallas series means leaving friends and family behind - at least those friends and family who watched him play in the Salt Palace games during the series. Scott had to arrange for as many as 18 tickets a game in Salt Lake. His grandparents still live in the Ogden area, as do numerous aunts, uncles and cousins.
His father, Allen Holmes, a former University of Utah standout, lives in Salt Lake.
Byron left Ogden early in life and moved with his mother and brothers and sisters to Inglewood, Calif. He grew up practically next door to the Forum, the home of the Lakers.
He said he was glad to meet Utah in the series.
"When the Jazz were playing Portland I was hoping they'd get by them," he said. "It was good to see my family and to spend time with them. They're Jazz fans - until we come to town."
But he isn't sad leaving Utah behind, either.
"Getting by the Jazz should be the toughest obstacle we'll face on the way to a championship," he said. "We knew going in that they were big and good, and if we could just get past them it would be a lot easier in the next round - no matter who we played."