Saturday , May , 26 , 2007 Oly Sandor

Deron Williams & Carlos Boozer Lead the Utah Jazz To A Game Three Win, San Antonio & Tim Duncan Struggle

The Utah Jazz are back in the Western Conference finals, winning game three 109-83 … D-Williams ran things, C-Boozer manned the middle, and Timmy D threw up a dud … Utah also got a big effort from their bench … Get your recap, reaction, and analysis here …

What Happened: Home-court is pretty sweet for the . On Saturday, Utah’s defense and balanced scoring helped the Jazz defeat the 109-83 at Energy Solutions Arena.

With the win, Utah cut San Antonio’s lead to 2-1.

and paced the Jazz. Williams had 31 points and eight assists. Boozer registered 27 points and 12 rebounds.

didn’t score, but he drew several fouls on San Antonio’s . He also forced Duncan into committing eight turnovers.

Utah’s bench broke out of their mini slump, contributing 38 points .

led the Spurs with 25 points and seven assists. Duncan had 16 points, while Manu Ginobili chipped in with 14 points.

With the win, the Jazz remain undefeated at home during the playoffs.

Game four is Monday in Utah.

Reaction of Utah guard Deron Williams on the win:
"This does a world of good for our confidence. Despite all the odds, we’re still here playing.”   (ESPN)

Reaction of San Antonio center Tim Duncan
on Utah’s improved play:
 “They just played a better game than us for a long time. They were aggressive, they were physical, their guys shot well. They had a lot of things happening for them."   (ESPN)

Reaction of San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich
on the Spurs’ struggles:
"The score of the game is not really all that important. How we play is what matters and we didn’t play very well. They played better than we did in a lot of areas."   (ESPN)

My Take: Utah had a simple choice on Saturday night. On the one hand, if the Jazz lost game three of the Western Conference finals, the San Antonio Spurs would lead the series 3-0 and Utah’s season would essentially be over.

On the other hand, if the Jazz won game three of the Western Conference finals, San Antonio would only lead the series 2-1 and Utah would have life.

The Jazz played desperate basketball and won game three. The Western Conference finals became a little more interesting.

Here’s why the Jazz won:

1) Utah received a lift from their home crowd. Energy Solutions Arena isn’t like most NBA stadiums. It’s a college arena and the fans are rowdy.

Think Sacramento cowbells back in the day with C-Webb, Vlade Divac, and Mike Bibby. The ‘True Blue’ fans were standing for most the game. Not as loud as the Warriors ‘We Believe’, but pretty close.

2) The Jazz took Tim Duncan out of the game. Utah’s Mehmet Okur played great defense and baited The Big Fundamental into taking a few charges. Duncan then spent long stretches on the bench and couldn’t find his rhythm.

3) Forget John Stockton-to-Karl Malone, game three was all about Deron Williams and Carlos Boozer. These two were excellent. Right now, Williams is the best young point guard in the NBA. Yes, he’s better than Chris Paul. He does a great job of keeping his body low to the ground when attacking the basket. And Boozer was dominant, carrying the Jazz early in the game.

4) I was impressed with Utah’s bench in game three. Gordon Giricek had 11 points. Paul Millsap and Matt Harpring each scored eight points, while Jarron Collins chipped in with seven points.

But the bench did the little things that don’t show up on the stat sheet. Collins provided some energy on defense, drawing an offensive foul on Duncan. Harpring threw his body around and played physical basketball. And Millsap had a big second half.

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