for this game

Fisher comes off the bench to lead Jazz

Dec 18, 2006 - 12:59 AM INDIANAPOLIS (Ticker) -- Deron Williams has blossomed into an All-Star player, but the Utah Jazz still have room for Derek Fisher.

Fisher scored 11 points in a big third quarter as the Utah Jazz pulled away before holding on for a 104-94 victory over the Indiana Pacers.

Carlos Boozer had 18 points and 11 rebounds and Williams added 17 for Utah, which improved to 7-4 on the road as it embarks on a five-game road trip.

Williams has blossomed in his second year as a top-rate playmaker and team leader, averaging 17.2 points and 9.2 assists while shooting 48 percent from the floor. But the Jazz still have found time for the playoff-tested Fisher, who entered averaging 9.7 points and 3.2 assists in 23 minutes per contest.

"It gives us great ability offensively," Fisher said. "We have two guys who can control the ball, two guys who can score from the perimeter, and two guys who can make plays off of the pass.

"It makes it difficult for teams to take away (Williams') penetration when I'm on the perimeter, and the same when I penetrate. We've done this for six or seven games and we really seem to get off to good starts."

Fisher finished with 15 points on 6-of-14 shooting and added three rebounds and three assists in 30 minutes.

"One of the reasons coach made the change was because teams were zoning us and we needed more perimeter shooting," Fisher said. "I was fortunate to find some open area tonight.

"We started running the floor a little bit better in the third quarter and get some open, easier baskets. Anytime you let Indiana get back and set on defense, their pretty physical. We were able to get some good looks in transition tonight."

Leading, 53-47, at the half, Utah opened the third quarter on a 25-10 run to forge a 78-57 bulge with 3:36 remaining. Fisher led the burst with nine points, including three straight jumpers. Mehmet Okur, who started the half with a basket, capped the run with a 3-pointer.

"When you can shoot the basketball, there's no better feeling than to keep getting looks at the basket," Fisher said. "It's a great way to keep your rhythm and that's why I was able to continue hitting my shots."

"In the third quarter we did a good job of executing the offense versus what they were doing defensively," Utah coach Jerry Sloan said. "We were able to hit some shots against their zone and that was big because it seems like we had trouble against zones this year."

Only 14 third-quarter points by Jermaine O'Neal kept Indiana within, 83-71, heading into the final period.

Utah could not put the game away, allowing Indiana to pull within, 98-92, on a pair of free throws by O'Neal - his only points of the quarter - with two minutes left. After a few empty possessions, Utah's Dee Brown missed a jumper, Fisher grabbed the offensive rebound and was fouled. He knocked down both free throws to seal it with 33 seconds left.

O'Neal finished with a season-high 31 points and nine rebounds for the Pacers, who shot less than 37 percent (27-of-74). O'Neal had posted double-doubles in his previous seven games.

"They just played better," O'Neal said. "There were some questionable calls towards the end of the game, but they played about the same the whole time. They played hard the entire game, from start to finish. They didn't change anything. They play hard whether they have a winning season or a losing season, and we knew that coming into this game."

Al Harrington, who averages 16.8 points, was scoreless in 24 minutes for Indiana, which had a six-game winning streak at Conseco Fieldhouse snapped. The Pacers had won the last seven games against Utah here.

"Utah is a model for any team in this league," Indiana coach Rick Carlisle. "They have the best record in the league an that's no accident. We took a step back. The next couple of games will tell a lot."

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