The Jazz hope to have their two stars back as they try to end a seven-game losing streak against the Heat on Monday.
Boozer missed Friday’s 120-96 win over the Los Angeles Lakers after spraining his ankle during Wednesday’s 106-95 victory at Philadelphia, and Okur sat out with back spasms. Boozer’s 25.4 points and 11.2 rebounds per game are both team highs, while Okur ranks fourth on the Jazz with an 11.9 scoring average.
Despite their absence, Utah (12-5) managed to win thanks in part to forward Andrei Kirilenko, who had 20 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists for the third triple-double of his seven-year career. Deron Williams scored a career-high 35 points and Paul Millsap - starting for Boozer - added 20 points and nine rebounds.
Kyrylo Fesenko may have become an instant crowd favorite in his NBA debut just hours after being called up from Utah’s D-League affiliate in Orem. He had six points and seven rebounds - and five stitches after taking an elbow from the Lakers’ Chris Mihm.
“You need to concentrate and kind of cover for each other. I think that’s what we did tonight,” Kirilenko said. “Still we need Booz and Memo to get back - as soon as possible.”
The Jazz could especially use Boozer and Okur against the Heat (4-12), a team they have not defeated since a 97-85 home victory on Jan. 15, 2004. Utah has been outscored by an average of nearly 13 points in seven defeats since then.
Boozer averaged 24.5 points in two games against Miami last season, while Okur averaged 15.
However, the Heat have been struggling this season and are off to their worst start since 2003-04, when they also opened 4-12 in 2003-04. That team rebounded to finish 42-40 and reach the Eastern Conference semifinals.
The Heat, who are in last place in the East, started 4-8 last season but came back to win the Southeast Division.
“We were five, six games under .500 and then won seven of eight or eight of nine games,” coach Pat Riley said. “It is important that we play these games more competitively and keep things even before you try to win seven games in one night. You can’t do that. It’s got to come back slowly.”
Riley remained one win shy of becoming the fastest coach to reach 1,200 for his career.
“We’ve got to get it together,” O’Neal said. “Tonight was a plain-old butt-whipping.”
Guard Jason Williams sprained his right foot in the third quarter and did not return.
“We are in a funk,” Wade said. “Everything goes wrong when you’re where we are.”