Jazz Post Important Win Over Trail Blazers
Utah 102, Portland 89
PORTLAND, Ore., April 1 (Ticker) -- The frontcourt trio of Andrei Kirilenko, Carlos Boozer and Mehmet Okur dominated the interior to keep the Utah Jazz in the playoff hunt.
Kirilenko collected 23 points and 13 rebounds, Boozer added 22 and 10 and Okur chipped in 21 and 14 to lead the Jazz to a 102-89 triumph over the Portland Trail Blazers, who had their season-worst losing streak extended to 10 games.
"Well, we're still alive," Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said. "You never know what tomorrow brings. That's why you gotta keep playing untill it's over. You either get eliminated or push someone else to the wire. We need some help obviously and we should have helped ourselves in some other games. Now we just have to beg a little bit."
"We are trying to take this one game at a time and not get ahead of ourselves," Boozer said. "We know we need Sacramento to lose a couple and we need to win. That's why tonight was a great victory."
The Jazz took control of the game in the second quarter, when they outscored the Trail Blazers, 29-19, to turn a 25-22 lead after 12 minutes into a 54-41 bulge at halftime.
Utah's trio was the big difference in the session as they combined for 22 points and 15 rebounds. Boozer scored 10 points in the quarter for Utah, which shot 54 percent (21-of-39) and held a 28-10 rebounding advantage in the first half.
"We were trying to make a big impact on the rebounding and defense to start the game," Boozer said. "We were fighting for them out there, even deflected one into the wrong basket. But that's what we are looking for."
"I think everybody did a good job helping each other out in the first half, not only Carlos, Mehmet, and myself," Kirilenko said. "I would say that (rookie Deron Williams) and Kris Humphries were also very helpful. It was a good effort all-around and we were able to establish a comfortable lead for the second half."
Williams collected with 18 points and five assists and Humphries started in place of Matt Harpring, who sprained his ankle in Friday's loss to the Los Angeles Clippers.
Zach Randolph, who scored 24 points, shaved Portland's deficit to 77-68 with 2:32 left in the third period with one of his 10 free throws.
However, the Jazz scored the next four points and never led by less than 10 points thereafter.
"They totally dominated the boards the entire game (48-30 overall)," Trail Blazers coach Nate McMillan said. "Rebounds are what we talked about with this team. You know when you give them second opportunities, you've got to limit this team to one shot and they had 20 second-chance points."
"We are the best rebounding team in the NBA," Okur said. "That's what we do best. We always have crashed the boards to try and get and take away second shots. It showed tonight."
Rookie Martell Webster scored 14 of his 23 points in the first quarter for the Blazers, who lost every contest on their four-game homestand by at least nine points.
"They killed us on the boards, man," said Webster, who shot 10-of-17 from the floor. "They attacked the glass and that was the game. It hurts to take a loss like that, but it's over. We just gotta try to look ahead and do a better job of keeping it together. I'm proud of the fact that we didn't quit and we kept playing hard."