Carlos Boozer leads Jazz past SuperSonics, 115-101
Okur, who has been ailing with a stomach flu this week, scored 19 of his 24 points in the second half Saturday night and sparked Utah’s game-changing run in a 115-101 victory over the Seattle SuperSonics, who have lost 11 in a row.
Okur missed most of Utah’s games against Toronto on Monday and struggled against the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday.
“I have finally been able to eat regular food and work out the last couple days. I missed some shots in the first half but I stayed hungry and made my first few shots after halftime,” Okur said.
Okur helped the Jazz erase a nine-point halftime deficit in the first few minutes after the break, then hit a 3-pointer in the fourth quarter to put Utah up by 10. The Sonics couldn’t recover.
“Memo was cooking, said Carlos Boozer, who led the Jazz with 26 points and 13 rebounds, his 45th double-double.
The Jazz rebounded from a 106-95 loss to the Lakers on Thursday night that snapped their home winning streak at 19 games.
“Once I made a 3, they tried to jump out on me and I was able to put the ball on the floor and take it to the basket and get to the line. It was nice to really feel good out there again,” said Okur, who also grabbed 10 rebounds.
Jeff Green had a career-high 23 points and fellow rookie Kevin Durant also scored 23 points for the Sonics, outscored 63-40 in the second half. Seattle has lost its last nine road games by an average more than 20 points.
“We played really hard and it was a hard-fought game but they made the big-time shots tonight,” Durant said.
Deron Williams had 15 points and 14 assists while penetrating at will in the second half. Because of injuries, Luke Ridnour had to play the entire second half and couldn’t stay with the shifty Jazz guard, who found open teammates.
“I’m just having fun and my teammates are hitting shots and that’s where the assists are from. I can’t take all the credit. I’m definitely finding them, but they have to hit the shots,” Williams said.
Ronnie Brewer scored 14 points and Matt Harpring and Korver each had 11 off the bench. The Jazz improved the best home record in the NBA to 30-4 with three contests remaining in this six-game homestand.
“What we did in the first half was fire the ball up there and we never had any chance to defend the floor. Once we started moving the ball around, we started getting more confidence,” Utah coach Jerry Sloan said.
Okur’s confidence returned after halftime as he scored nine quick points and Utah erased a nine-point deficit in the first 2:29. But Green had 12 points in the next three minutes and the Sonics kept the Jazz from the lead until Matt Harpring hit a jumper with 1:40 left in the third period.
“We finally figured out their zone and started attacking with good angles and knew where we needed to drive and spot up,” Williams said.
Before he had to leave the game with a right calf bruise, Earl Watson had 14 points and five assists to lead the Sonics to a 61-52 advantage at halftime. The Sonics made 54 percent of their shots while forcing the Jazz to veer from their inside-out strategy. In the first half, the Jazz, the NBA’s best in points in the paint, shot 1-of-11 from 3-point range.
“We did a decent job of not letting them get it inside, then they adjusted and started getting the ball into Boozer and into cutters in the lane and that really hurt us. We were able to get out and run a little bit in the first half,” Seattle coach P.J. Carlesimo said.
The Jazz dominated the second half, shooting 63 percent from field and outrebounding the Sonics 22-9.
“Memo had a great third quarter which really hurt us,” Carlesimo said. “We ran out of people to throw in there. They deserved it, don’t get me wrong; they played well. We just had guys that were exhausted.”
Damien Wilkins scored 13 for the Sonics, who have lost 22 of their last 24 on the road. An overtime win at Minnesota was their only victory in their last 16 games.
Three times, players were whistled for stealing the jump ball taps. … Rapper Lil Jon sat courtside, wearing a Deron Williams jersey, and came out on the court and yelled a few of his trademark chants during a timeout. … Chris Wilcox, Seattle’s regular starting power forward, missed the game with a right pinkie sprain he re-injured Wednesday against Phoenix. … Seldom-used Mouhamed Sene launched an awkward hook shot in the final minute that missed the hoop by 6 feet.