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Okur, Williams lead Jazz to fourth straight win

Jan 23, 2007 - 6:01 AM SALT LAKE CITY (Ticker) -- Whenever the Utah Jazz needed a big basket, Mehmet Okur and Deron Williams delivered.

Okur scored 28 points and Williams added 21 with 15 assists for the Jazz, who won their fourth consecutive contest with a 106-91 triumph over the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Entering sixth in scoring (101.5), the Jazz returned home after winning the final three contests of a four-game road trip to raise their home mark to 15-4. They defeated Minnesota for the fourth time in five encounters.

"It's just great to get back on track," Williams said. "This is a big win for us. We say that any time we beat a team in our division, it's a good win for us. And we owe them one anyway, for beating us in Minnesota (December 8)."

"We're already halfway through," Utah forward Carlos Boozer said. "When we're at the All-Star break, we're almost two-thirds through the season. ... We have a new 41-game season coming up and we're 1-0 and that's how we want to approach it."

Matt Harpring scored seven points, including a three-point play, and Williams added six as the Jazz closed the second quarter with a 19-5 run to take a 49-36 lead.

"He was just beating guys off the dribble," Harpring said of Williams. "Any time you can do that, you're gonna put pressure on the defense."

"I thought it was the second quarter that kind of broke our back," Minnesota coach Dwane Casey said. "We dug a deep hole. When our first unit goes out, we had some costly turnovers, and they capitalized on those turnovers. ... You can't turn the ball over with this team."

The Timberwolves chipped away and got within 56-51 midway through the third quarter after Ricky Davis scored seven points, including a three-point play, and Mark Blount and Trenton Hassell each hit a pair of baskets.

"I thought Ricky did a great job of executing the pick-and-roll and some of the things we've been trying to do with him," Casey said. "He got some good looks (and) we set some good screens for him. He just came out swinging. He had it going from the three."

However, Okur drilled a pair of 3-pointers and scored 14 points in the period and Williams added 10 to give Utah an 83-66 advantage.

"We've hung in there," Williams said. "We really haven't let teams get back in there and that's definitely helping us out."

Minnesota opened the fourth with a 15-4 burst, highlighted by seven points by Davis and five by Randy Foye to cut the deficit to 87-81 with 6:45 to play. Utah responded with another 3-pointer by Okur and a layup by Boozer.

Okur, who averaged 27.0 points on the road trip, made 10-of-16 shots, including four 3-pointers. Boozer scored 18 points and Harpring added 11 for the Jazz.

"We're really balanced, scoring-wise," Williams said. "We've got several guys on this team that can score 20 points on any night. We just took turns tonight."

"This (winning streak) is kind of silent," Harpring said. "It just doesn't seem as big of a deal as when we did it before. Maybe it's because we lost four in a row before, or people are expecting us to win now. But it seems like we're doing our jobs and we're winning, just taking care of business."

Davis scored 16 of his 32 points in the third quarter and Kevin Garnett added 17 with 11 rebounds in his return after serving a one-game suspension for punching Detroit's Antonio McDyess on Friday.

"The Jazz are always going to play you physical," Garnett said. "Ever since I've been in the league, they've been a physical team. They've always made that known. That's that (coach Jerry Sloan) ball. That's how it goes. It's nothing new."

"I think we started making stops defensively, especially on Garnett," Jazz forward Andrei Kirilenko said. "Because it seemed like in the first quarter, he was unbelievable (making 5-of-6 shots to score 10 points). He was firing and scoring from (everywhere)."

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    UTAH 106 FINAL

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    UTAH 83 END, 3RD QTR

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    UTAH 20 END, 1ST QTR

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