Utah 98, Philadelphia 87

SALT LAKE CITY, Jan. 3 (AP) -- Whether it was the old ball or the new year, the Utah Jazz needed a half to adjust.

The Jazz rallied after shooting 34 percent in the first half by going 20-for-38 in the second and beat the travel-weary Philadelphia 76ers 98-87 Wednesday night.

Carlos Boozer scored 22 of his 27 points in the second half and Matt Harpring had 12 of his 20 in the third quarter as the Jazz started to go inside on the Sixers, who have been on the road since Dec. 26.

"We had a lot more energy in the second half all around, I think getting out and running really helped us because it opens everything up and puts pressure on them and we get a good flow,'' said Deron Williams, whose 14 assists for the Jazz were one off his career high.

It also made up for a 1-for-12 shooting performance from the Utah point guard, who atoned for his poor shooting by reviving Utah's offense in the second half with his passing.

Williams only had five assists at halftime, but started finding Boozer and Harpring for easy baskets in the third quarter.

Mehmet Okur scored 27, going 10-for-10 from the line. Derek Fisher added 12 points for the Jazz.

It was Utah's first game since the NBA brought back the leather ball and the Jazz struggled early, although their shot selection probably had more to do with going 13-for-38 in the first half.

"In the first half it looked like we let they walk all over us,'' Utah coach Jerry Sloan said. "They were much more enthused about playing.''

Philadelphia won at Denver on Tuesday then traveled to Salt Lake City. The Sixers still appeared to have plenty of energy leftover from the victory against former disgruntled teammate Allen Iverson.

But they couldn't rally after falling behind by as much as 15.

"It kind of got away from us at the end of the third quarter,'' Miller said. "It's tough to come here and beat a team like that and fight back into it.''

The Sixers fell to 4-5 since trading Iverson and are 2-4 on the lengthy road trip, which ends Friday at Minnesota.

Andre Iguodala scored 16, Joe Smith had 13 and Kyle Korver added 10 points for Philadelphia.

The Jazz beat Philadelphia for the third straight time and sixth in the last seven meetings.

"In the second half, I thought they got a lot of easy baskets and wore us down,'' Philadelphia coach Maurice Cheeks said. "We looked a little tired in the second half, but I liked our game.''

Harpring, who missed two games last week with a stomach virus, and Boozer kept getting open for layups to boost Utah's shooting percentage and rally from a 45-41 halftime deficit. Harpring's layup with less than a second left in the third quarter gave Utah a 76-68 lead entering the fourth.

"Matty was great,'' Boozer said. "Came in, made shots, rebounded, defended, made more shots. ... He gave us a big lift of the bench.''

Miller, a former star across town at the University of Utah, kept it from getting out of hand with a jump shot for Philadelphia, which scored six straight to cut the lead to 89-80 on Iguodala's dunk off a steal by Korver.

After Boozer answered with a dunk, Miller was alone in the corner and made a 3-pointer to cut the lead to 91-83 with 3:07 left. Smith added a layup to get the Sixers within 91-85 with 1:29 left, but he missed the free throw on what would have been a three-point play.

Williams, who was just 1-for-12 from the field, sealed it for Utah with two free throws.

Notes: Williams' career high for assists 15 against Milwaukee on Nov. 11. ... Philadelphia F Chris Webber was inactive for the fourth straight game with a bruised foot. ... Utah shot 29 percent in the second quarter (5-for-17).

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