for this game

Okur leads Jazz down the stretch vs. Spurs

Feb 1, 2007 - 6:36 AM SALT LAKE CITY (Ticker) -- With potential All-Star Carlos Boozer sidelined for the immediate future, the Utah Jazz leaned on Mehmet Okur to get the job done.

Okur scored 31 points including a pivotal go-ahead three-pointer and grabbed 11 rebounds as the Jazz posted a 97-93 victory over the San Antonio Spurs.

Rookie Paul Millsap had 15 points and eight rebounds off the bench and Deron Williams added 14 points and seven assists for Utah, which is without the services of Boozer for four to five weeks.

Boozer, who is averaging 22.1 points and 11.8 rebounds, suffered a hairline fracture of his left fibula in the first quarter of Saturday's 94-83 loss to the New Orleans Hornets.

"Obviously we can't do anything about it right now," Okur said of Boozer's absence. "I think everybody's got to step up, everybody's got to play 110 percent night in and night out. It was a huge win for us tonight."

Okur, who shot 10-of-14 from the field, scored 14 points in the fourth quarter, including eight in the final minute as Utah snapped a two-game skid.

After Robert Horry drilled a 3-pointer to give the Spurs an 89-88 lead with 1:19 left, Okur was fouled by Tony Parker on a 3-point attempt with 60 seconds left. The 6-11, 249-pound center made all three shots from the line to put the Jazz up by two.

With 27 seconds remaining, Okur came off a screen and hit a 3-pointer from the left sideline to break a 91-91 tie.

"I called a high screen-and-roll, came off Paul [Millsap] first, didn't have any openings so I drove back at Memo and I know once I drive back to him what he's doing circling around," Williams said. "I pitched it to him, he let it fly. He loves those shots."

The Jazz center has earned a reputation for clutch last-second shooting since arriving in Utah, having hit several game-winning shots, including three this season. It was his third three-pointer of the night and gave the Jazz the lead for good.

"I've got confidence in my shot even though I missed earlier," Okur said. "I think D-Will did a great job, he got the open shot for me and it was a must win game for us."

The Spurs, who hit 10 3-pointers, went for the tie on the other end, but Bruce Bowen's attempt was a bit long. Tim Duncan's follow shot pulled San Antonio to within one, but Okur added two more free throws with 12 ticks left to put Utah back up by three.

"He made his shots, he made all his free throws, and what can you say about him? That's what you're looking for, I thought he was sensational," Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said. "I thought our guys did a tremendous job staying in the ballgame and working as hard as they did."

The Spurs had one last chance to spoil the night for the Jazz, but Horry, a notoriously clutch shooter himself, couldn't play the hero again, as he missed an off-balance shot with eight seconds remaining.

"It wasn't executed as well as it was drawn up," Tim Duncan said of the Spurs' final possession. "I missed one of the screens on that, and we just had to settle for a contested shot."

The Northwest Division leaders, the Jazz entered the night having lost three of their last four, including two equally dramatic losses. Eddie Jones lifted Memphis to a two-point victory over Utah with a buzzer-beater in overtime last week and Vince Carter did the same with a 30-foot heave on Monday night.

But even without Boozer, the Jazz outrebounded the Spurs 50-32 to pull out their 30th victory of the season.

"It was definitely important for us. We've been struggling a little bit lately. We've lost some hard-fought ballgames," Williams said. "And for us to pull it out the way we did, make all the plays in the end Memo's clutch again, he always wants the ball in crunch time it's just a great win for us."

Parker scored 27 points and handed out six assists and Duncan had 25 points, 12 rebounds and five blocks for San Antonio, which had a six-game winning streak against Western Conference foes snapped.

Horry and fellow reserve Manu Ginobili each had 10 points for the Spurs, who shot 44 percent (30-of-68) and fell to 1-2 vs. the Jazz this season.

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