Jazz Try to Start 4-0 as They Host the Pistons
Posted Nov 6 2006 12:39PM
NBA.com Daily Confidential
Carlos Boozer is off to the best start in his career, but his play is not the only reason the Utah Jazz are undefeated.
Boozer and the Jazz will try to start 4-0 for the second time in three seasons as they play their third game in four days Monday against the Detroit Pistons at the Delta Center.
The fifth-year forward posted his third straight double-double to start a season for the first time in his career Saturday when he scored 17 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in Utah's 106-82 win over Golden State. He's never started a season with four consecutive double-doubles, but has 98 for his career.
Boozer is averaging 20.7 points and 15.0 rebounds, but is quick to credit his teammates as the reason the Jazz, along with the New Orleans Hornets, are the only unbeaten teams in the Western Conference.
``We've got a deeper team than we've had since I've been here and guys are ready to play,'' said Boozer, who's in his third season with the Jazz and shooting 50 percent from the field.
``If guys aren't playing well, Coach (Jerry Sloan) has the luxury of bringing in somebody else who can step in and replace them and we don't drop off very far.''
Utah has six players averaging in double figures, including two - Derek Fisher (12.3) and Matt Harpring (11.3) - who are reserves. The Jazz are averaging 107.0 points, with the reserves accounting for 37.7 points per game.
Former Pistons forward Mehmet Okur recorded his second straight double-double Saturday with 21 points and 12 rebounds, and totaled 37 points and 29 rebounds in Utah's two wins over Detroit last season. The Jazz are shooting 50.2 percent from the field and 40 percent (12-for-30) from 3-point range throught three games.
Detroit (2-1) has lost three in a row at the Delta Center and 12 of the last 14. The Pistons, who have won consecutive games after opening the season with a home loss to Milwaukee, will be going for their third straight win at a place they last won 80-78 on Nov. 6, 2002.
Five Pistons scored in double figures Saturday in a 95-86 win over Memphis. Detroit overcame another technical foul by Rasheed Wallace, who picked up his third of the season after being whistled for a personal foul early in the fourth quarter.
Wallace, who had 15 points and 13 rebounds against Memphis, was ejected in the team's season opener and continued to criticize the NBA's zero-tolerance policy on players complaining to officials.
``I know they're going to have to do something about this crazy zero tolerance law,'' said Wallace, who has accumulated 244 technicals and 28 ejections in a 12-year career. ``That's retarded. In my mind, it's kind of like a slave and master or father and son. You've got your little son and (you say) don't say nothing back to me - and to me, that's totally wrong. It ain't like that in any other sport.
''(Referees) don't already like me and all this zero-tolerance law does is give (officials) who already have a beef with players to go out and toss them.''
Despite Wallace's volatile nature, the Pistons have other options who are off to good starts. Guard Chauncey Billups is averaging 17.3 points and 9.7 assists, Richard Hamilton is averaging 25.3 points and Nazr Muhammad has contributed 11.7 points and 9.3 rebounds per game despite averaging barely more than 24 minutes.
Utah, which has won four of the last five between the teams, swept the 2005-06 season series with a 94-90 win Jan. 7 at Detroit in the most recent meeting.
The Pistons have not defeated the Jazz since a 64-62 win March 13, 2005.
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