Boozer, Okur Keep Jazz In Playoff Hunt
Utah 104, Denver 83
SALT LAKE CITY, April 12 (Ticker) -- Carlos Boozer and Mehmet Okur made sure the Utah Jazz still have some tunes left to play.
Boozer and Okur each recorded double-doubles as the Jazz kept alive their playoff hopes by pulling away for a 104-83 victory over the Denver Nuggets.
It still will be a battle for the Jazz to make the postseason since they have an upcoming three-game road trip with contests against the New Orleans Hornets, Dallas and San Antonio before closing the season at home against Golden State.
"This road trip is basically going to make or break us," Boozer said. "We've got to hopefully take this momentum on the road. All three of those games are going to be tough, because they're all fighting, too."
Holding a 71-63 lead after three quarters, the Jazz took control with an 18-4 spurt, capped by Boozer's basket with 3:58 remaining for a 94-74 advantage. Okur and Andrei Kirilenko scored six points apiece in the burst.
The Jazz were dominant in all facets in the final period, shooting 60 percent (15-of-25), holding a 16-5 rebounding advantage and committing just one turnover.
"It was definitely one of our best quarters, especially passing the ball," Jazz rookie point guard Deron Williams said. "We shared the ball well, made the extra pass, guys got easy shots and they really couldn't defend it. It was fun out there. When you're getting wide-open, uncontested dunks, it's pretty fun."
"We just started passing the ball, started playing with a little more confidence out there," Jazz forward Matt Harpring said. "We were getting easier shots and layups, and that always helps. They played us tough for three quarters, but it seemed like once we got the lead, it just opened up from there."
Kirilenko and Williams added 14 points each for Utah, which shot 49 percent (42-of-86) and held a 47-33 rebounding advantage.
"We've just got to get some wins. We're still alive in this thing, the season's not over," Williams said. "We've still got a chance, whether it's a slim chance or not. If we keep winning and some teams lose, we're right there."
"We've got really good chemistry right now with this group," Boozer said. "It's unfortunate that time is running out."
Carmelo Anthony scored 18 points and seldom-used rookie Linas Kleiza added a season-high 16 for the Nuggets (44-35), who already have clinched the Northwest Division title and locked up the third seed in the West.
Denver played without Marcus Camby (back) and Kenyon Martin (knee).
"I thought we could have played a little better in rebounding the ball and not turning the ball over, and I thought we would have had a chance to win the game," Denver coach George Karl said. "But the end of the third quarter and beginning of the fourth quarter, Boozer and their rebounding took control of the game. We didn't have the heart or the energy to fight down the stretch."