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 Jazz ruin Webber's jersey retirement with win

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PostSubject: Jazz ruin Webber's jersey retirement with win   Sat Feb 07, 2009 6:51 pm

SACRAMENTO, Calif.(AP) With 23 minutes
between halves while the Sacramento Kings retired Chris Webber's
jersey, Deron Williams and the Utah Jazz had plenty of time for
resting, stretching and plotting a second-half surge.When the Kings surged back, Williams took charge in the final minute for a remarkable victory.Williams
scored 34 points on a badly bruised thigh and hit the go-ahead layup
with 20.2 seconds to play, leading the Jazz to a 111-107 victory over
the Kings on Friday night.Williams' poise - and a couple of
beneficial calls, he acknowledged - in the closing seconds helped the
Jazz ruin the Kings' upset attempt in front of Sacramento's first
sellout crowd of its dismal season. While the Kings slipped out of the
locker room to watch the halftime ceremony, the Jazz were at work with
coach Jerry Sloan."I just sat back here, right on this chair,
and got my legs ready to go,'' Williams said from his postgame perch in
front of his locker. "Our energy picked up in the second half. Right
now, I've got to step up for my team like that. I felt like I let them
down a little bit when I came back, and now I've got to be more
aggressive and more assertive.''Mehmet Okur added 28 points and 11 rebounds for Utah, which won its third straight after erasing a 10-point halftime deficit.Kevin
Martin scored 19 of his 37 points in the fourth quarter, putting the
Kings ahead 105-102 with 55 seconds left with two free throws and a
driving layup on consecutive possessions. Martin scored 11 of the
Kings' final 13 points, but couldn't stop Sacramento's 10th loss in 11
games while coming up just short in an entertaining duel with Williams,
who scored 12 points in the fourth.Williams drove the lane and
dished to Okur for a tying 3-pointer with 48 seconds left before
drawing a charge on Martin, sending the Sacramento bench into a fury.
After Williams split the lane for the go-ahead layup, Martin was unable
to draw a foul on the other end, sparking another uproar."We
didn't get some calls to go our way,'' Sacramento interim coach Kenny
Natt said. "The refs thought they were in position. Obviously, I
thought they were different.''Ronnie Brewer scored 16 points for
Utah, while Matt Harpring matched his season high with 14. Kyle Korver
added two free throws with 7 seconds to play.The Jazz still are
firmly in the playoff picture despite losing Carlos Boozer (knee
surgery) and Andrei Kirilenko (ankle surgery) to long-term injuries.
Williams also missed most of a month with a sprained left ankle before
his current thigh woes, while Okur and Harpring also spent significant
time on the sideline."I think we're going to be OK after all of
this,'' Okur said. "Hopefully Boozer and A.K. are going to come back
right after the All-Star break, and we can get back to where we were
last year as one of the best teams in the game.''Bobby Jackson scored 15 points for the Kings, and rookie Jason Thompson added 14 points and seven rebounds before fouling out.The
Kings retired Webber's No. 4 jersey at halftime, celebrating the
centerpiece of their sustained run of excellence in the early years of
the decade. Webber was joined for the ceremony by Vlade Divac, Doug
Christie, Scot Pollard and Mateen Cleaves, along with ex-NBA stars
Kevin Johnson and Gary Payton."I was happy to be here for it,''
said Jackson, who played 4 1/2 seasons with Webber. "He's a friend of
mine. He's done a lot for this organization and team. He's very
deserving.''Sacramento had its eighth consecutive winning season
shortly after Webber left town in a trade in 2005, but the Kings have
dropped to a spot among the league's worst teams. Kings owner Gavin
Maloof acknowledged as much during the halftime ceremony when he asked
Webber to represent the club at the next draft lottery - with 31 games
still left in this season.Before the fourth quarter, the Kings
announced that center Brad Miller will be out through the All-Star
break with a strained left hip. Miller missed his third straight game
against Utah with the injury.Notes: Johnson is now the mayor of
Sacramento, and Payton is Webber's partner as a television analyst. ...
Jazz G C.J. Miles stayed at the team hotel with a case of bronchitis.
"He's not dead, but he's not well enough to play,'' Sloan said. G
Brevin Knight played despite an injured left thumb ... Natt spent nine
seasons as Sloan's assistant in Utah. "I saw him stomping over there,
and tonight I didn't have to grab him,'' laughed Natt, whose job
description often entailed keeping the hotheaded Sloan away from the
officials.

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