Utah 95, Chicago 85
CHICAGO, Jan. 20 (AP) -- Utah coach Jerry Sloan was more interested in talking about his latest victory than his latest milestone.
He isn't the type to wax poetic, so moving into fourth place on the NBA's career wins list didn't mean much to him. Winning the game Saturday night did.
Mehmet Okur scored 21 points and Carlos Boozer added 19 points and 14 rebounds to lead the Jazz to a 95-85 victory over the Chicago Bulls.
"This was like a playoff game,'' said Sloan, who won his 1,011th game to move ahead of Larry Brown. "Every possession was important to us.''
Taking sole possession of fourth place on the wins list? Sloan, whose No. 4 hangs from the United Center rafters, shrugged off questions about the accomplishment.
Okur wasn't so tight-lipped.
"He's such a good teacher,'' Okur said. "He likes to teach everyday. We're hungry. This is my third year (with Utah), and I've learned a lot of things from him. He's always honest. ... I'm so glad I'm here with him.''
And it's a good time to be in Utah.
A team that did not make the playoffs last season continues to exceed expectations. The Jazz have rebounded from a four-game losing streak to win three in a row - all on the road - with Okur leading the way.
Okur, who averaged 29 points the previous three games, was 7-of-18 from the field. His 3-pointer with 4:33 left made it 83-72.
Boozer delivered his 31st double-double, after scoring 23 and matching a season-high with 19 rebounds in a 102-94 win Friday at Toronto.
Ben Gordon scored 23 points and Kirk Hinrich added 22 for Chicago, which had won three straight. But poor shooting did in the Bulls, who were 29-for-76 overall and 1-of-12 on 3-pointers.
"We had 11 naked, wide-open looks that we missed in the first half,'' Bulls coach Scott Skiles said. "We are still not where we need to be as far as playing through that situation. Sometimes, you miss those shots, and it ends up being a whole game of misses.''
Ben Wallace, bothered lately by a strained lower back and stiff neck, had 10 points and nine rebounds. He scored seven points during the first 4:08 of the third quarter, converting two free throws to pull the Bulls within 47-46.
Hinrich hit a jumper and two free throws to tie it at 52 with 5:10 left in the third, and Tyrus Thomas gave them their first lead since the opening quarter with a free throw moments later.
Okur answered with a dunk and free throw, and the Jazz spent the rest of the quarter building a 67-62 lead.
With Utah up 71-66, the Bulls' P.J. Brown got called for a foul on Boozer and slammed the ball, resulting in a technical 3:18 into the fourth. Derek Fisher (14 points) hit the technical free throw, and Boozer hit one of two. Paul Millsap then blocked Hinrich's layup and dunked in transition on Andres Nocioni to make it 75-66.
"They're a good team, one of the better teams in the NBA,'' Gordon said. "They cause some matchup problems. They (have) a physical style, and they execute really well.''
Fans in Illinois orange were scattered throughout the arena, cheering on Utah's Deron Williams and rookie Dee Brown.
Williams, who led the Illini to the NCAA title game two years ago, scored eight of his 12 points in the first quarter. The second-year pro, making a case for an All-Star selection, had his first two shots blocked - by Gordon and Wallace. He was 4-of-7 in the opening quarter, hitting a jumper off an inbounds play at the end of the period to give Utah a five-point lead. He took two shots in the second half and did not score.
Brown, meanwhile, did not leave the bench. And that did not sit well with a crowd that chanted "We want Dee'' throughout the second half.
"There are always Illinois fans in Chicago,'' said Williams, whose right shoulder was sore afterward. "They travel everywhere, and they showed up for me and Dee and we appreciate that.''
Notes: Bulls F Malik Allen was available but did not play after missing Wednesday's game at Milwaukee with a strained left calf. ... Skiles expects Wallace's back and neck to flare up occasionally the rest of the way. ... Okur was 30-of-54 his previous three games, starting the surge with 38 points at Washington on Monday and continuing it with 22 at Detroit on Wednesday and 27 at Toronto on Friday.
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