“He’s such a wonderful shooter,” Sloan said. “We’re always shocked when he misses a shot.”
Okur scored 30 points and pulled down 10 rebounds to help the Jazz erase a 21-point fourth-quarter deficit and beat the Atlanta Hawks 112-106 on Wednesday night.
“My teammates keep telling me, ‘Shoot the ball! Shoot the ball!”’ Okur said. “We don’t give up. We’re not going away. We just play harder and harder every day.”
Okur’s 3-pointer from the right corner all but sealed the victory with 26.4 seconds remaining. The Hawks had nobody defending Okur when he launched his jumper that gave Utah a 110-104 lead.
The Jazz won on Nov. 22 at Sacramento after trailing by the same margin, but they overcame a third-quarter deficit against the Kings. In that game, Okur’s 3 with 1:45 remaining gave Utah the lead for good.
Since the start of December, Okur has hit 57.1 percent of his 42 attempts from beyond the arc. His 3-pointer with 1.6 seconds left on Dec. 2 beat Seattle. A 3-pointer with 1:47 remaining against the Hawks put the Jazz ahead to stay at 106-103.
“We have to play good defense all together and help each other,” Okur said after going 4-of-5 on 3s. “I think we’ll be fine. It feels good out there. We don’t give up. We stay hungry. We execute. I knew it was going to be a long night. But we didn’t give up.”
A five-point possession with 10:23 remaining turned the momentum in favor of Utah, which outscored the Hawks 40-13 in the final period.
Derek Fisher hit a 3-pointer but missed the ensuing free throw and Carlos Boozer grabbed the rebound. The Jazz ran off 16 seconds before Andrei Kirilenko fed the ball underneath to Boozer, whose lay-in cut Atlanta’s lead to 95-83.
“This kind of dropped out of the sky,” Sloan said about the victory. “You’re sitting on pins and needles in this business. Everybody thinks this is fun.”
Utah had lost four of six on the road, including an overtime defeat at New York on Monday night, but the Jazz won their fourth straight in Atlanta and took their eighth consecutive series win.
Joe Johnson scored 27 points to lead the Hawks, who have dropped five of six. Smith had 12 rebounds.
Despite the big lead, Atlanta seemed to lack confidence.
“Even when we’re up, our body language says we’re losing,” Smith said. “We shouldn’t feel that way.”
Johnson looked at injured teammate Tyronn Lue, who was not in uniform, and wondered aloud if the Hawks were headed for trouble.
“I told T-Lue before the fourth quarter started that coming into this quarter you never know what to expect,” Johnson said. “Just that quickly, we lost the lead.”
Near the end of the second quarter, Okur hit consecutive 3-pointers, the second coming with one-third of a second remaining, to cut Atlanta’s lead to 54-53.
Deron Williams finished with nine assists and 13 points for Utah. Boozer also had 13 points and Kirilenko 12.
The Jazz improved to 21-2 when scoring 100 points. … Marvin Williams, the second overall pick in the 2005 draft, missed the first 17 games this season with a fracture in the same hand. … Hawks G Josh Childress hoped to return from a left foot sprain, but the third-year player missed his 17th straight game on the injury list.