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Old 12-26-2006, 05:13 PM   #1
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Arrow Gm#29 12/26 vs LAC

Tuesday, 7:00pm
vs. Clippers

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Old 12-27-2006, 11:32 AM   #2
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Post Okur Shines in Final Minutes, Propels Jazz to Win

Utah 102, Los Angeles Clippers 92

SALT LAKE CITY, Dec. 26 (AP) -- Mehmet Okur missed his first five shots from 3-point range and wasn't bothered a bit.

Okur scored 24 points, including eight in the final two minutes, to lead the Jazz to a 102-92 victory over the Clippers on Tuesday night. He didn't hesitate after his early struggles, making two late 3-pointers.

``I don't give up. I stay focused,'' Okur said. ``I have confidence in my shot and so do my teammates. They did a great job and found open shots for me.''

The Clippers knew it was coming but couldn't stop it.

``Okur's been terrific shooting the 3-pointer,'' coach Mike Dunleavy said. ``To be able to stretch the defense at his size is a great advantage for any team. To shoot it at 40 percent-plus and come up at big times and make those shots, they're just daggers.''

Deron Williams added 21 points in Utah's first game back home after going 3-2 on a five-game Eastern Conference road trip before Christmas. Carlos Boozer had 26 points and 10 rebounds for his league-leading 22nd double-double.

``We could have kept floundering around and let this game get away, but we just kept playing,'' Derek Fisher said. ``The first game after a road trip is always a tough game to play.''

After Corey Maggette made a pair of free throws to cut the lead to 87-84 with 2:53 to play, Gordan Giricek and Okur hit back-to-back 3-pointers.

Maggette, who had 19 points for the Clippers, made a driving basket, but Utah answered with Boozer's tip-in and another 3-pointer by Okur.

``We just try to create for everybody, but I was open at right place, right time. I was open and I just hit the shots,'' said Okur, who has come through from behind the arc late in games on a number of occasions this season.

Elton Brand scored 21 points for the Clippers, who fell to 1-30 at the EnergySolutions Arena, formerly the Delta Center. The Clippers' only win here was 96-89 on Jan. 22, 2003.

``The Clippers came at us all night long,'' Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said. ``We knew it was going to be a dogfight but you have to give them credit, they stuck right with us tonight.''

Andrei Kirilenko left the game with 5:51 in the second quarter due to a mild concussion and did not return. The Jazz forward, who lost part of a tooth in last week's game at Charlotte, took a shoulder to the head on Maggette's drive to the basket.

Both teams missed key reserves. Utah's Matt Harpring was out with a stomach virus and Los Angeles was without Sam Cassell because of foot problems.

When Kirilenko went down, the Jazz were forced to go with a three-guard lineup for most of the second half. The switch seemed to hurt Utah's trademark precision until the last four minutes of the contest, when movement without the ball and crisp passes off drives to the lane led to 17 points in the game-ending stretch.

Giricek, who has played sparingly this season, made sure the Jazz didn't miss Kirilenko.

``Giricek did a great job. He had to play the three ... and he stayed within the offense, took good shots and made some big shots,'' Sloan said.

Added Giricek: ``It was good to finally finish a game. I haven't finished a game in probably three years.''

Okur, who had 11 rebounds, tipped in a miss with 7:39 left to make it 81-71 for Utah. The Clippers stormed back with nine consecutive points to cut the lead to one after another of Maggette's driving shots.

Utah, which had won the first two meetings by an average of 20.5 points, outrebounded the Clippers 44-36. The league's best offensive rebounding team had 14 second-chance points.

Many of the Clippers also thought the Jazz got an assist from the officials.

``Look at their guys, who are physical guys, how many fouls they get called for. I'm really impressed with their technique. I'm going to study the film so I can get our guys to copy it,'' Dunleavy said sarcastically.

The Clippers were whistled for 28 fouls to Utah's 20.

Boozer scored 18 points in the first half and sparked the Jazz to a 50-43 lead. The Jazz led the rest of the game.

``We had a long road trip so to come home and get this home cooking and have the fans go crazy for us and get a big win here, it sets the tone for the rest of the week,'' Boozer said.

Notes: Dunleavy was assessed a technical foul with 5:44 left in the third quarter. ... The Clippers have lost seven of eight, with the lone win coming against Houston, which was missing Tracy McGrady and lost Yao Ming. ... The Jazz, who made 46.8 of their field goals, improved to 8-8 when shooting less than 50 percent. They are 11-0 at home when they score at least 100 points

Copyright 2006 by STATS LLC and Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited
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