Jazz 91, Warriors 85

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OAKLAND, Calif. (AP)—Thanks to another beautiful performance by the revitalized Mehmet Okur, the Utah Jazz hung on for an ugly win.

Okur had 23 points and 14 rebounds, and the Jazz capitalized on Baron Davis’ absence in a 91-85 victory over the Golden State Warriors on Friday night.

Okur scored 19 points in the second half and Matt Harpring added 15 points for the Jazz, who got their second straight impressive victory despite a distasteful evening of missed shots and 18 turnovers. While holding off Golden State, they made just one field goal over the final 6:54—rookie Deron Williams’ jumper with 4:43 to play.

“It’s better to win ugly than lose pretty,” Harpring said. “We played our game real well, though. They like to get up and down the court, and that’s not our style. We played our pace. When we execute and we do it the right way, we’re tough to beat.”

While the Jazz congratulated themselves on a tough win, the Warriors didn’t react well to their first loss. Golden State kept its locker room closed to reporters for 29 minutes after the buzzer, flagrantly violating NBA policy for a closed-door team meeting featuring shouting that could be heard down the hall.

“We just want to make sure we understand how important these kinds of games are,” said Derek Fisher, who had 18 points. “We’re not going to score 122 points every night. Good teams make adjustments and find a way to win. We just told ourselves after the game that it’s not going to be enjoyable, high-flying slam-dunking every night.

“We missed 15 free throws, and lost by six. We told each other that we don’t look outside this locker room for reasons we didn’t win.”

Jason Richardson scored 18 points for the Warriors, who were a bit lost without their starting point guard and charismatic team leader.

Davis, who missed 81 games with New Orleans over the previous three seasons because of injuries, sat out to rest his strained hamstring after getting hurt in the Warriors’ season-opening victory over Atlanta on Wednesday.

Davis hadn’t missed a game with an injury since joining Golden State on Feb. 24, but the team doesn’t know whether he’ll be available for Sunday’s road opener at New York.

Utah’s Carlos Boozer is out with a strained hamstring. But the Jazz were much more resourceful than Golden State without an important player in uniform — mostly thanks to inspired play from Okur, who spent much of his first season with the Jazz on the bench.

The Turkish center had 27 points and eight rebounds in the Jazz’s season-opening win over Dallas, and he was similarly aggressive against the Warriors. His steady play kept Utah in front despite a sub-par game by Andrei Kirilenko, who had 11 points on 4-of-12 shooting.

“I’m feeling good. I’m more excited,” Okur said. “I don’t know what happened in the first half (2-of-7 shooting). A few shots were wide open, and I couldn’t make it. … It got better, though.”

Of course, an ugly effort doesn’t please coach Jerry Sloan, who got his 945th career victory to pass Bill Fitch for fifth place on the NBA’s career list.

“We’ve been lucky,” Sloan said. “We caught Dallas the other night when they played the night before, and (the Warriors) tonight had Baron out.”

And what about Okur’s efforts?

“A year ago, he wasn’t in real good shape to play basketball,” Sloan said. “This year, he’s got in better shape. He has some skill. He can shoot and he can rebound, and you can’t do that when you’re not in good shape.”

At the end of three fairly close quarters, the Jazz took a double-digit lead on Okur’s 3-pointer with 7.4 seconds left. Utah briefly led by 14 points in the fourth, but Golden State used a 17-7 rally to get within 79-75.

Utah countered with a 12-3 run, including 10 points on free throws.

Mike Dunleavy scored 13 points and Troy Murphy had 12 points and eight rebounds while attempting a career-high 14 free throws before fouling out for the Warriors.


Warriors rookie G Aaron Miles, who made the club as an undrafted free agent from Kansas, got his first NBA points with 10:50 to play. Andris Biedrins, active for the opener, was scratched. … Utah C Robert Whaley finished his two-game suspension for punching Lakers C Adam Parada during a preseason game. … Davis played in 262 consecutive games to begin his career.

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Top Performers

 Top Performers
M. Okur M. Okur
7-17,  23 Pts
14 Rebs, 3 Assists
 Golden State
D. Fisher D. Fisher
7-16,  18 Pts
4 Rebs, 6 Assists

Team Stat Leaders