SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Check out this stat line from the Utah Jazz's black-and-blue rivalry with the Sacramento Kings: Two missing teeth, 18 stitches, at least one concussion, three technical fouls and one big flagrant foul.
Peja Stojakovic scored 27 points and Chris Webber had 23 points and 15 rebounds in the Kings' 107-93 victory Thursday night in a game featuring more than its share of blood, sweat and dangerous elbows.
With just nine players available against Utah's persistent defense, the Kings' resourcefulness and toughness were tested. But they responded by nursing a comfortable lead through the final three quarters.
Brad Miller had 21 points on 9-of-10 shooting for the Kings, who were without Mike Bibby (sprained ankle) and then lost Greg Ostertag - who lost his teeth - and Maurice Evans to injuries during the game, with Evans getting a concussion on a frightening fall with 2:09 left.
"It's not the first time I've seen something like that happen against Utah," Miller said. "That's how they play, and when you're playing amongst grown men, that's how we play. You're going to have stitches here, stitches there. It's all part of the game."
Ostertag, who spent the past nine seasons playing for Jazz coach Jerry Sloan, left the court in the second quarter with a towel over his face after getting hit by an elbow from Utah's Curtis Borchardt. Though his bridge was dislodged from his upper teeth, he received stitches in his upper lip and returned to watch the second half from the bench.
"That's the way Jerry is," said Ostertag, who also got a serious headache from the injury. "You stick your nose in there, see if it gets busted, and you stick it right back in."
Matt Harpring landed a hard foul on Stojakovic after the whistle in the third quarter, and Stojakovic responded with a one-handed shove. Both players got technical fouls, but their teammates prevented a serious scuffle.
"When they grab and hold you for 30 minutes, you get mad," Stojakovic said of his unusual display of temper.
"We're just playing the game, and stuff happens," said Harpring, who had 16 points. "You shouldn't always get a technical for it. There's some bickering out there. It's nothing personal."
In the final minutes, Utah's Carlos Boozer committed a flagrant foul against the high-flying Evans, who fell hard to the ground - landing on his side and his head - after attempting a dunk. Evans remained on the court for a moment before walking to the locker room, and Webber got a technical foul for attempting to challenge Boozer, a 1999 Juneau-Douglas High School graduate.
Evans needed 12 stitches to close the gash on his skull, and he sustained a mild concussion. His availability for Saturday's game against the Los Angeles Clippers was uncertain.
"Sometimes it's physical, (but) sometimes it's not when you're playing hard that things happen," said Boozer, who dropped by the Kings' locker room afterward to check on Evans.
Boozer had 15 points, nine rebounds and seven assists for the Jazz, who followed up surprising victories over Phoenix and San Antonio earlier this week with their 10th loss in 12 games.
Juneau Empire ©2015. All Rights Reserved.