Okurís Trey Keeps Bulls Winless on Road Trip
Utah 109, Chicago 107 (OT)
SALT LAKE CITY, Feb. 6 (Ticker) -- Mehmet Okur kept the Chicago Bulls reeling on the road.
Okur had 15 points, including a go-ahead 3-pointer with seven-tenths of a second left, as the Utah Jazz posted a thrilling 109-107 overtime victory over the slumping Bulls, who have dropped the first four games on a seven-game road trip.
"It was right there. I was wide open so I took the shot," Okur said. "It feels great. Especially with the home court, in front of our fans. It was great, it's a good game for us."
Matt Harpring, who scored 28 off the bench for the Jazz, hit a jumper off the curl with 36 seconds left in the extra session to forge a 106-106 tie.
Tyson Chandler sank 1-of-2 foul shots 11 seconds later to put the Bulls in front. Harpring missed a jumper on the ensuing possession and Chicago's Luol Deng secured the rebound. However, Deng lost his balance and his pass from underneath the basket was deflected into the hands of Utah forward Andrei Kirilenko.
"I should have held onto the ball, but I made a bad play by trying to pass it," Deng said. "If I had held onto the ball, we would have won the ballgame. So it's my fault."
Instead of calling a time out, the Jazz rotated the ball to Okur, who nailed a deep 3-pointer just before time expired.
"When you call a time out, they're ready to play. They come out of the time out ready to play," Kirilenko said. "But this time, off the rebound, everybody's not in their right spots, you just throw the ball back and nobody was on Memo (Okur), and he scored."
"It was a big-time shot," Bulls guard Kirk Hinrich said. "He's a great shooter. He's one of those guys that if he gets his feet set, you know it's going in."
The Bulls nearly pulled off a miracle when Andres Nocioni hit a jump shot from beyond the arc over Kirilenko at the other end, but replays showed the shot clearly came after the buzzer.
The Jazz took over the game's momentum in the fourth quarter, erasing a five-point deficit with a 9-0 run that included back-to-back 3-pointers from Harpring and Kirilenko, who combined to score 18 of Utah's 22 points in the session.
"Coach (Jerry Sloan) put me at the 2-guard a little bit tonight, so I was getting a lot of shots tonight," Harpring said. "You take what the defense gives you."
Harpring appeared to give the Jazz control with a 3-pointer that made it 92-86 with 3:13 remaining in regulation. After a series of empty possessions, Hinrich made four free throws to cut the deficit to 92-90 with 39 seconds on the clock.
Utah ran down the shot clock and Harping split a pair of free throws for a 93-90 lead before Gordon drained a wide-open 3-pointer with 7.6 seconds remaining to tie it.
"My big guys did a good job of getting me open, and I knew I had to hit the shot so I was real focused," Gordon said. "I concentrated on that shot, and I was fortunate enough to make it."
Milt Palacio missed the potential game-winning jumper to send the game into overtime.
Thanks to seven points in the overtime period from Gordon, the Bulls took a 106-100 lead with 1:31 left before the Jazz stormed back, forcing two huge turnovers to turn the tide back in their favor.
"I think we focused a little bit more," Harpring said. "Sometimes we have a tendency to lose focus out there. Tonight, we didn't give up. We kept fighting and we got stops. We were down six or seven, and it looked kind of impossible. But we hit our shots."
Kirilenko had 21 points and 10 rebounds and Keith McLeod added 17 points for the Jazz, who shot 47 percent (7-of-15) from behind the arc. Gordon scored 35 points on 11-of-24 shooting while Hinrich collected 19 points and six assists for Chicago, which tallied 20 fast-break points.
"It's a real tough loss," Gordon said. "Every game is like a must-win for us right now. We're having a bad losing streak right now and we need to get ourselves out of it before we get back to Chicago."
The Bulls have stops left in Denver, Sacramento and wrap up the trek against the Los Angeles Clippers.