Okur, Williams lead Utah over Boston

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP)—In danger of a double-digit deficit at halftime, the Utah Jazz closed the second quarter with a 7-0 run and opened the third with an even bigger surge.

The Jazz scored 16 straight points between late in the second period and early in the third and held on to the lead the rest of the way, beating the Boston Celtics 110-97 on Monday night.

Boston led by 12 before the Jazz got the halftime deficit to five, then opened the third quarter on a 9-0 run and pulled away from the stunned Celtics.

“The way we ended the second quarter kind of gave us a little bit of confidence and that kind of carried over to that second half,” said Deron Williams(notes), who had 22 points and 11 assists.

Mehmet Okur(notes) scored all of his 14 points in the second half and pulled down 15 rebounds, C.J. Miles(notes) added 23 points and Carlos Boozer(notes) overcame early foul trouble to finish with 19 points—all but one in the second half—nine rebounds and two blocks.

The Celtics, who had won four straight, had Utah’s top two centers and power forwards in foul trouble for much of the first half, but didn’t capitalize in the second after the Jazz came out running.

“I think as a team we were disappointed because we wanted to close the quarter out a little better,” said Ray Allen(notes), who scored 15 for the Celtics. “They attacked us and we never took the attack away from them. We were kind of reacting to everything they were doing and then before you know it we were down.”

Okur added three blocks for the Jazz, who controlled the lane and outscored the Celtics 50-36 inside despite Utah’s foul trouble.

Utah outscored Boston 61-43 in the second half and coach Doc Rivers had seen enough with 1:11 left, when he was ejected with two technical fouls.

Rivers stood and glared at referee Ed Malloy while clapping his hands after the first technical. Malloy didn’t take Rivers’ gesture as applause and quickly called the second, pointing toward the coach and then the tunnel.

Rivers’ players followed a few minutes later, knowing they had let one get away.

“They started the third quarter pretty electric,” Garnett said. “You pretty much have to anticipate it. As many times as I have played here, they have always been able to come back out.”

Boston had Boozer, Okur and reserves Paul Millsap(notes) and Kosta Koufos(notes) in foul trouble in the first half, but didn’t take advantage. Okur was able to stay out of trouble by keeping out of the lane and making four 3-pointers during Utah’s second-half run.

Boozer added the defensive play of the night when he swatted back Allen’s 3-point attempt, then ran down the loose ball for a two-handed dunk that put the Jazz up 95-81 with 6:41 left. Jazz fans were rumbling even before Boozer got to the ball and continued to roar through a timeout called by the Celtics.

Boozer played less than 10 minutes in the first half because of fouls, then made 7-of-8 shots in the second half with no more fouls.

“I was juiced. I couldn’t wait to get back on the court,” Boozer said. “I came out in the third quarter with a whole new energy.”

With the win and Dallas’ loss to New Orleans, the Jazz pulled within 1 1/2 games of the Mavericks for the No. 3 spot in the Western Conference and two games behind Denver in the Northwest Division.

After missing all six 3-point attempts in the first half, Utah was 7 of 15 in the second half. The Jazz also went 21 for 27 from the foul line, where Williams made all 11 of his shots.

The Jazz closed the second period on a 7-0 run to get within 54-49 at halftime, then scored the first nine of the third quarter. Miles opened the third quarter with two free throws, Williams found Boozer alone under the basket for an easy layup and then Okur hit a 3-pointer that put Utah up 56-54 and the Jazz never trailed again.

“We got back in the ballgame and gave ourselves a little bit of life and then we carried it on for the rest of the game,” Utah coach Jerry Sloan said. “We had a lot of guys play well and we had to in order to beat that team.”

NOTES: Malloy received a mock cheer when he called Rajon Rondo(notes) for a foul after a string of calls had gone against the Jazz in the second quarter. … Boston had won five of six. … Williams got his 36th double-double. … Davis missed a few minutes after taking an elbow from Millsap to the face as the two battled for a rebound. He returned in the fourth quarter with tissue stuffed in one nostril to stop the bleeding.

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Top Performers

 Top Performers
 Boston
R. Allen Ray Allen
4-12,  15 Pts
3 Rebs, 2 Assists
 Utah
D. Williams Deron Williams
5-14,  22 Pts
4 Rebs, 11 Assists

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Monday, Mar 22