just a quick little stat. the utah jazz are undefeated in the last 34 games when leading after the 3rd quarter. tonight, the utah jazz were owning going in to the fourth....but it goes in the L column! great game.
Sacramento 98, Utah 97
SALT LAKE CITY, Dec. 15 (AP) -- The Sacramento Kings got a lesson in how tenuous a big lead at home can be when they blew a 21-point margin and lost to the Utah Jazz last month.
On Friday, the Kings reminded the Jazz that what happened in Sacramento can happen just as easily in Salt Lake City.
Sacramento rallied from a 16-point deficit to beat Utah 98-97, overcoming its worst period of the season with one of its best.
``In this league, teams will let you back in. You've just got to play hard,'' said Mike Bibby, who scored 14 of his 19 points in the second half.
Bibby scored seven of Sacramento's 13 points in the third quarter, then the Kings scored 32 in the fourth and evened the season series with Utah at 1-1.
Shareef Abdur-Rahim scored 21, including the go-ahead 3-pointer with 59 seconds left to play.
The Jazz entered the game with the NBA's best record and had lost just once at home this season, but couldn't score after Carlos Boozer put them up 97-93 with 1:36 left to play. Utah's Derek Fisher and Deron Williams bounced shots off the rim in the last few seconds and Jazz fans seemed shocked when the buzzer sounded and their team hadn't pulled off another victory.
``The team never quit,'' Sacramento coach Eric Musselman said. ``A team that didn't believe in themselves or wasn't resilient or wasn't desperate for a win probably could lose that game in double digits.''
The Kings had lost six of seven but were definitely sharper at the end, holding the Jazz to 6-for-15 shooting in the fourth quarter.
``They just kept playing and playing,'' Utah coach Jerry Sloan said. ``They just kept coming at us.''
Williams had 15 points and nine assists and Boozer finished with 14 points and 11 rebounds for his 17th double-double of the season. Andrei Kirilenko added 11 points and 11 boards and Mehmet Okur scored 17 for the Jazz.
But none of them did much in the fourth quarter, when Utah's starters scored a combined six points and couldn't stop the Kings.
``When we're making shots, we're a lot better defensive team,'' Sloan said. ``We've got to learn how to play when teams start pushing us around a little bit.''
It was quite similar to Utah's 110-101 win in Sacramento on Nov. 22, when the Kings blew a 21-point lead and lost at home.
After falling behind 88-72 on a jumper by Gordan Giricek early in the fourth quarter Friday, the Kings slowly rallied and erased the huge deficit. Ron Artest, who scored 11, made a 3-pointer that cut the margin to 88-75, starting a 21-5 run for the Kings.
Bibby converted a three-point play with 1:58 remaining to get Sacramento within 95-93. Utah led 97-95 with less than a minute to play when Abdur-Rahim got the ball alone in the corner and made his first three this season to give Sacramento a 98-97 lead with 59 seconds left.
``I knew I was due,'' Abdur-Rahim said. ``If you look at my career, you know, I've shot a decent percent. When I'm open, I'll shoot them.''
Boozer was off on a layup attempt with about 40 seconds left, and after Kevin Martin missed a shot for Sacramento, Utah had a chance to win it at the end.
Fisher had a good look from the corner, but the ball bounced off the rim. Kirilenko got the ball back out to Williams with about five seconds left, but Williams' attempt from beyond the arc was off and the Kings grabbed the rebound.
``We got some stops, steals rebounds and we were pushing back at them,'' Bibby said. ``Guys played hard, moving the ball and trying to win the game instead of everybody trying to do it themselves.''
Notes: Sacramento's previous low for scoring in a quarter was 14. ... The Jazz haven't won the season series against Sacramento since going 3-1 in 1999-00. ... Giricek scored 12 points after sitting through the last three games. ... The Jazz are 15-2 when Boozer has a double-double. ... Jazz owner Larry Miller presented Sloan with the game ball from his 1,000th win before the game, Utah's first at home since Sloan reached the milestone Monday.
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