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News » Game elevated


Game elevated


Game elevated
If Utah's Ronnie Brewer isn't careful, he's going to find himself in the middle of this season's Most Improved Player race.

On second thought, maybe Brewer is already there.

Continuing an award-winning stretch Saturday night, Brewer scored 11 of his career-high 26 points in the fourth quarter and sparked the Jazz to a 102-89 victory over Sacramento at Energy Solutions Arena.

Playing just 5? hours after the funeral of owner Larry H. Miller ended, the Jazz were understandably sluggish against the team with the worst record in the NBA.

With their slim game-long lead down to 80-79, however, Brewer stepped up and fueled a late 11-0 run that iced Utah's seventh straight victory.

Brewer also contributed seven rebounds and four steals as the Jazz swept the season series from the Kings for the first time in 12 years.

"? He seems to be getting better and better," said Jazz coach Jerry Sloan.

"It's great to see Ronnie Brew playing like that," said teammate Carlos Boozer. "He's playing with so much confidence -- great 'D' and setting people up. He's been phenomenal lately."

Memo Okur also scored 26 points for the Jazz, while Deron Williams contributed a 16-point, 11-assist double-double.

In his third game back from knee surgery, Boozer added six points and five rebounds in his closely-monitored 18 minutes.

Brewer stole this show, however, with a blend of slashing moves to the basket and timely jump shots in 41 minutes. He played the entire second half.

"I thought he was playing pretty well," Sloan said. "That's why I left him out there. ? I asked him if he was all right and he said he was O.K."

Smiling, Brewer said, "It seemed every time I got super-tired, there was a time-out."

Improving to a franchise-record 10-1 record in February, the Jazz were in danger until Brewer started their decisive fourth-quarter run with a three-pointer.

After Paul Millsap blocked Jason Thompson's layup, Andrei Kirilenko dunked a lob from Williams. Then, Brewer's steal and layup made it 87-79 with 8:04 left and the Jazz had finally killed the Kings' resolve.

"Even though their record doesn't show it, they are a really good team," Brewer said. "They have very talented guys -- guys who can shoot from the perimeter and get to the basket."

Still, Brewer said, the Jazz's inability to put away the Kings any sooner was "? kind of frustrating.

"Every time we made a run, they'd come back and hit tough shots. But a win's a win. A lot of us had a long day -- an emotional day -- and I'm just glad we got the win."

For the Kings, Kevin Martin finished with 19 points, but he has only eight on 3-for-12 shooting over the final three quarters.

"We were very competitive tonight," said Sacramento coach Kenny Natt. "? But we got sloppy with the Basketball [a few] times and that put us in a bad way."

The Kings finished with 18 turnovers, including those four steals by Brewer.

"He's playing with a lot of confidence right now," Williams said. "He's going to the basket hard. He's attacking the rim. He's trying to dunk everything."

luhm@sltrib.com Storylines

IN SHORT ? Ronnie Brewer and Memo Okur score 26 points as the Jazz break open a close game in the fourth quarter and beat Sacramento for their seventh straight win.

KEY MOMENT ? Leading 80-79 with 8:58 remaining, Brewer beats the 24-second clock with a three-pointer, igniting an 11-0 run that finally allows the Jazz to pull away.

KEY STAT ? The Jazz win for the 10th time in their last 11 games. They finish the month with a record of 10-1, which is the best February in franchise history. Ronnie Brewer's last six games


Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: March 2, 2009

 

 
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