Williamsí Big Game Carries Jazz
Posted Nov 11 2006 3:54AM
Utah 107, Boston 100
Boston, Nov. 10(AP) -- Playing well in November is nothing new to the Utah Jazz. This time, they are hoping to sustain their success.
Mehmet Okur added 23 points for the Jazz, who snapped a four-game losing streak to the Celtics. Utah was swept by Boston the past two seasons by an average of 11.8 points and last beat the Celtics on Dec. 19, 2003.
The Jazz won their first four games before a 98-89 loss at New Jersey on Wednesday. Utah (5-1) started 6-1 in 2004-05, but ended up 26-56 after Boozer and Andrei Kirilenko missed chunks of the season with injuries.
So far this year, Utah's core of Boozer, Williams, Okur and Kirilenko has been healthy, and the Jazz have the best record in the NBA because of it.
``Knock on wood, we don't have any major injuries,'' Boozer said. ``We're a deeper team than I've ever had since I've had here. We're all young, but some of us are coming into our primes right now. We're excited for the ride we're on right now.''
The Jazz, who averaged 92.4 points last season, shot 53 percent from the field to score at least 100 points for the fifth time in six games. Utah didn't score 100 until the 12th game last year.
Paul Pierce scored 30 points and reserve Rajon Rondo had 13 points for the Celtics, who are 1-4 for the first time since 1997-98. Point guard Sebastian Telfair left in the first quarter with shortness of the breath and was taken to the hospital for further evaluation. He was diagnosed with bronchospasm and is expected to travel with the team to Cleveland on Saturday, Celtics spokesman Jeff Twiss said.
After Pierce's 3-pointer tied it at 56 early in the third quarter, Okur and Kirilenko combined for 11 points to spark a 15-0 Utah spurt that gave the Jazz the lead for good.
``We just got hot at the right time,'' Williams said. ``Our offense was clicking. We ran some good plays, executed, and the ball was going in the basket.''
Following Williams' jumper, Okur hit back-to-back 3-pointers. Kirilenko then closed out the run by blocking Ryan Gomes' layup, hitting a 3-pointer on the other end and making a layup to make it 71-56 with 6:48 remaining in the quarter.
Boston chipped away at the lead and pulled to within 101-98 with 1:19 left, but Williams made three free throws in the closing minute to close out the win.
``At the end of the quarter, they came out aggressive and we came out flat,'' Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. ``There's no excuse for that. We got back in it with going extremely small and speeding the game up. We had ample times down the stretch, but they had a couple big turnovers.''
Kirilenko scored nine points and blocked five shots.
Boston led by as much as seven late in the first quarter, but Utah went on a 10-0 spurt spanning the first and second quarters. Williams made all four of his shot attempts in the second period to help Utah outscore Boston 25-17 and take a 52-48 lead.
``This just goes to show you that when you don't play the defense that you need to play, you dig yourself a hole,'' Pierce said. ``You put so much pressure on our offense when you don't get any stops. It's almost a must that we come down and score every time.''
Notes: Utah guard Gordan Giricek missed the game after returning to Utah on Thursday to get an MRI on his right leg. Doctors found a spot on his Achilles' tendon, and Giricek is expected to at least miss Saturday's game in Milwaukee. ... For the first time this season, the Celtics used the same starting lineup in consecutive games. ... After failing to score in consecutive games, Jazz guard C.J. Miles had just two points in 18 minutes.
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