Jefferson's 27 points lift Jazz over Suns 94-81

Associated Press Modified: November 11, 2012 at 12:16 am •  Published: November 11, 2012
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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Al Jefferson was still feeling a bit queasy from a stomach ailment. He just didn't let it show on the court Saturday night.

A day after shooting 1 of 9, Jefferson looked like a new man, scoring a season-high 27 points and adding 14 rebounds in the Utah Jazz's 94-81 victory over the Phoenix Suns.

Paul Millsap added 18 points and 13 rebounds for Utah, which built a 22-point lead, then went to its veterans after the Suns pulled within five late.

"We knew we had to close it out at the end," said Jefferson, who along with Millsap had six points, four rebounds and a steal in the fourth. "We're two of the three leaders on this team and one of our leaders (Mo Williams) was out. We just had to step up, and finish the game off. It was a big game before we hit the road, and the way we played last night, we had to have a special night."

The Jazz lost by 20 to Denver on Friday night. Phoenix, meanwhile, overcame a 26-point deficit to beat Cleveland.

The Suns looked as if they might pull off another huge comeback when Michael Beasley's follow dunk after a Jazz turnover cut Utah's lead to 79-74 with about five minutes remaining.

But Millsap ended a scoreless streak of nearly 6 minutes with a 19-footer to start a 7-0 run, capped by Marvin Williams' 3 pointer.

The Suns pulled within seven again, only to have Jefferson hit a 10-foot turnaround jump shot, then block Luis Scola at the other end.

Scola led the Suns with 21 points and Jared Dudley scored 16. Goran Dragic added 13 points and six assists.

"When you're down 22, it is very difficult," said Scola, who scored eight of his 21 points in the fourth. "We have had a bad quarter in pretty much every game we play. Sometimes we come back, sometimes we don't. It is very difficult. We need to fix it."

The Suns trailed 29-19 after one and by 16 in the second quarter, then were outscored 27-18 in the third when they shot just 27.3 percent.

Again Millsap and Jefferson did much of the damage.

Millsap scored on a driving layup, then sank a free throw on the next possession to give Utah a 20-point lead with 3:44 left in the third quarter.

Derrick Favors' dunk made it 77-55, and the Jazz took a 77-61 lead into the fourth.

The Jazz won despite missing starting point guard Mo Williams because of a strained adductor.

Jamaal Tinsley went scoreless starting in his place but handed out 14 assists for the Jazz, who are 3-0 at home.

"I thought he was great," Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said of Tinsley, who had 10 assists in the first half. "I thought he got a little tired at the end and made some errant plays but for the most part he got us into the stuff we needed to get into. I just respect his professionalism."



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