Korver-led bench fuels Jazz victory

Times Staff Writer

SALT LAKE CITY -- Carlos Boozer reverted somewhat to his earlier play this series. Matt Harpring was there to prop him up.

Mehmet Okur went amiss in the first half. Paul Millsap provided support.

And Kyle Korver was there in the second half with some long-distance shooting.

The Lakers reserves may be better regarded and recognized, but Sunday they were shuffled to the side by the Jazz's subs.

Just ask their coaches.

Jazz Coach Jerry Sloan:

"The thing that really kind of seemed to give us a little bit of life was our second group gave us a lift."

Lakers Coach Phil Jackson:

"I really had to jump our second unit a little bit again because they let us down in the fourth quarter."

Utah's bench was integral in bringing the series back to Los Angeles tied 2-2, scoring a postseason-high 39 points. Meanwhile, the Lakers subs accounted for only 16 of their 115 points, 11 of them via Sasha Vujacic.

In the fourth quarter, the Jazz bench outscored its starters 15-14 and Korver converted all four of his free throws in overtime. Korver (14 points) and Harpring (12 points) each notched personal playoff highs for this postseason, while seven of Millsap's nine points came in the second half.

And each brings something different to the Jazz.

Korver can light it up from deep in a hurry. Harpring's specialty is using back cuts to score while being an overly aggressive, if not overly physical, defender. And Millsap is an undersized but big-barreled big man.

Afterward, Harpring wasn't ready to declare that the Jazz bench had outplayed the Lakers. Or that it would even carry a psychological advantage heading into Wednesday's Game 5. Instead, he said only that the two teams are becoming more familiar with one another.

"Every game is different," he said. "Sometimes you get some shots, sometimes you don't. Sometimes the ball goes your way, sometimes it doesn't. It's game by game and the biggest thing when you come off the bench is to provide a spark and help your team get a lead or get a bigger lead."

Sunday, Utah's bench did both.



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