Utah 100, Memphis 97

MEMPHIS, Tenn., Dec. 23 (AP) -- Mehmet Okur found his range with the game on the line.

Okur, who had missed his previous four shots from outside the arc, scored 20 points, including a go-ahead 3-pointer with 36 seconds left, and the Utah Jazz beat the Memphis Grizzlies 100-97 on Saturday night.

``I was open. It was a good play,'' Okur said. ``(Deron Williams) drove inside hard, and he just made a good play for me.''

Okur entered the game shooting 63 percent from 3-point range.

``I don't know what happened,'' Okur said. ``But I didn't give up. I have confidence in my shot, and so do my teammates. I knew it was coming for me.''

Okur added a pair of free throws with 2.5 seconds as Utah scored the game's final eight points to erase a 97-92 Memphis lead with 2:27 left.

The Grizzlies thought they had tied it when Damon Stoudamire banked in a 3-pointer as the horn sounded, but officials ruled it came too late, sending Memphis to its ninth loss in the last 10.

``I was just trying to get it out of my hands,'' Stoudamire said. ``I really wasn't paying attention to whether I got it off in time or not. I knew time was going down.''

The final play, in which Stoudamire struggled to get off the shot, was representative of the Grizzlies' problems in the final minutes. There were other miscues and defensively, Memphis failed to get out on Okur or Andrei Kirilenko, who connected on a 3-pointer to start the final 8-0 run.

``Utah executed down the stretch when they had to,'' Memphis coach Mike Fratello said. ``We had a couple of breakdowns defensively, and on offense, we had a couple of turnovers down the stretch. They did a good job of making us pay.''

Carlos Boozer led the Jazz with 24 points and 11 rebounds, while Williams finished with 17 points and nine assists. Derek Fisher scored 11 points, and reserve Ronnie Brewer added 10.

Mike Miller led Memphis with 28 points, while Dahntay Jones had 14. Pau Gasol finished with 12 points.

``At the end of the day, it's still a loss,'' Miller said. ``We've got to learn how to win games, and that's the bottom line. We're playing good enough to win. We're just not doing it and that's disappointing.''

Memphis, which averages 19.3 points in the first quarter, got off to a good start, connecting on seven of its first nine shots, building an 18-5 lead midway through the opening period.

But the Grizzlies also ended up with foul problems, then shooting problems, missing 11 of their next 14 shots, allowing Utah to pull even in the second.

The Jazz sat several starters, including Kirilenko and Okur, through much of the second period, and Memphis was able to rally for a 48-45 lead at the half. Miller led the way with 14 points for Memphis, while Boozer scored 11 for Utah.

``I thought in the first half, we were selfish,'' Utah coach Jerry Sloan said. ``In the second half, we did a much better job of forcing the offensive rebounds and passed the ball better.''

There was plenty of banging, with players ending up on the deck and a steady stream of fouls called in the first half. That seemed to affect the play of Gasol, who still is limited to about 25 minutes as he recovers from a broken left foot. At times, either because of the physical play or a lack of conditioning, Gasol was slow getting back on defense, leaving Utah players open for easy baskets inside.

The teams exchanged leads midway through the third period before the Grizzlies took a 78-75 advantage entering the final quarter.

Memphis built the lead to as many as eight early in the fourth, but Utah stayed close until Okur's 3 gave the Jazz their first lead of the period.

``He's hit a ton of those, and I don't have a problem with him shooting them,'' Sloan said. ``I like it wherever he shoots from, but Deron was the one who found him open.

Notes: Kirilenko did not record a block, stopping his streak of 28 straight games with a block. Memphis had a season-high 10 blocks, while Utah had none. ... The game was the last in a five-game trip for the Jazz, who went 3-2. ... Memphis was without F Stromile Swift, who left the team to return home to Louisiana after his mother had a stroke. ... Sloan drew an early technical for arguing with official Ed Malloy with 7:24 to go in the first period.

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