|Williams overcomes sickness, but not enough to carry teammates|
|Written by Admin|
|Monday, 28 May 2007 19:00|
It still wasn't enough.
Williams didn't get much help from his teammates as the San Antonio Spurs beat the Utah Jazz 91-79 Monday night to take a 3-1 series lead.
Williams, who received intravenous fluids earlier in the day to keep him from dehydrating, had 27 points and 10 assists on a night the Jazz weren't even sure he would be able to play.
``I was tired out there, but I'm trying to be here for my team. I never planned on missing the game. If you had caught me yesterday I probably would have said I was going to miss it,'' Williams said. ``I felt way better today than I did yesterday.''
Physically, yes. Emotionally, not so much. The Jazz are one loss away from being eliminated and have to play Wednesday in San Antonio, where Utah hasn't won a game since 1999.
Williams was 11-for-21 and Boozer 9-for-16 from the floor. The rest of the Jazz combined to make 12 shots from the field.
Williams said he woke up in the middle of the night after Utah's 109-83 win Saturday with digestive problems and slept most of Sunday. He didn't participate in Utah's shootaround Monday morning and was listed as a gametime decision until the starting lineups were released.
Williams played 38 minutes, 17 seconds and showed little sign of being tired during the game.
``He gave everything he had. What a performance when you are sick,'' Boozer, who had 18 points and nine rebounds.
The Spurs won a playoff game for the first time in Utah. San Antonio outscored the Jazz 28-17 in the fourth quarter and finished with 41 free throw attempts, more than twice as many as Utah's 20.
Eventually, the frustration of not scoring and watching the Spurs hit clutch free throws in the fourth quarter got to the Jazz. Coach Jerry Sloan got two technical fouls in the fourth period and was ejected. Derek Fisher, Utah's most experience playoff veteran, also got thrown out.
Sloan didn't have much to say about his own blowup.
``I don't talk about those because all that does is give me more trouble,'' Sloan said.
This could have been Utah's final home game of the season and it had an ugly ending. Fans, who had berated the officials with chants throughout the game, started throwing trash on the floor before the final buzzer.
It wasn't the kind of send-off the Jazz hoped for after winning their first seven playoff games at home.
If the Jazz win Wednesday, Game 6 would be in Utah on Friday.
``You're talking like the series is over. It's not over yet,'' Williams said. ``We've got to keep fighting. We've got to keep our composure, keep our heads, keep doing what got us here.''
At the end of the third period, Boozer and Williams were still the only members of the Jazz with more than two field goals. Williams was the last player to come onto the court at the start of that quarter, sitting on the scorers' table and grabbing a few extra moments of rest.
But Williams came out with the most energy of any of the Jazz, scoring on a layup and jumper during a 10-2 run that helped Utah get within 63-62 at the end of the third period.
In the fourth quarter, the shots stopped falling for the Jazz. Utah opened the period by going 5-for-13 as the Spurs slowly rebuilt their lead, mostly from the free throw line.
Tim Duncan went 3-of-4 from the line, Manu Ginobili made all three after being fouled by Fisher on a 3-pointer.
Ginobili added another from the line with 3:11 left that put the Spurs up 83-73, then drove for a layup with 2:34 to go after getting around Fisher.
Fisher and Sloan both got technicals after the whistle and it was the second one for Sloan.
``I don't know if that is the reason why we lost the game,'' said Fisher, who was 2-for-5 from the field. ``Obviously in those last few minutes, emotions were running very high.''
The Jazz announced that Fisher would be leaving the team after the game for a follow-up medical appointment for his daughter, Tatum, who is being treated for a cancerous tumor in her eye. Fisher was expected to join the team in San Antonio and play in Game 5.