Williams scores 17 to extend Pacers' skid to sevenMar 8, 2007 - 6:52 AM SALT LAKE CITY (Ticker) -- The Indiana Pacers may have more urgent worries than their long losing skid.
Star forward Jermaine O'Neal did not play in the second half of the Pacers' 94-72 loss to the Utah Jazz.
The sliding Pacers (29-31) lost their seventh straight game and are in seventh place in the Eastern Conference, just 1 1/2 games ahead of ninth place New Jersey.
"The first major concern I have is Jermaine's health," Indiana coach Rick Carlisle said. "He aggravated a sore left knee, and he is going to have to get it checked out tomorrow, and see where things are. We'll have to see how he's feeling in the next day or two, and see the results of the MRI, and we'll go from there. He's been playing hurt the majority of the season, in some shape or form.
"As always, the long-term health of a 28-year-old, six-time All-Star is more important than trying to keep him playing right now if that's not the right thing."
Deron Williams led a balanced attack with 17 points as the Jazz extended their winning streak to five games while the Pacers completed an 0-4 road trip.
"They're on a road trip. They played last night (at Sacramento), so we knew they wouldn't have much energy," Williams said. "They didn't look too interested in the game. We just took advantage of it, came out and got another easy win."
Carlos Boozer scored all 14 of his points in the first half and added 16 rebounds and four assists and reserve Matt Harpring had 14 points for the Jazz, who improved to 9-0 vs. the Central Division this season.
"That's good, but a win's a win," Utah forward Andrei Kirilenko said. "It doesn't matter. Central Division, Atlantic Division."
Behind Boozer, Utah (42-19) held a 47-35 edge on the backboards and limited Indiana to 38 percent (26-of-69) shooting in improving to 24-7 at home and moving within one game of San Antonio (43-18) for the third seed in the Western Conference.
"That's what we've been talking about all year. We've got to buckle down on defense," Williams said. "When it comes playoff time, the good teams - the playoff teams - they get stops when they need them and I think we've been doing that lately. We've been putting teams away. When we get them down we're playing good basketball."
Utah used a late 12-2 run to take a 50-35 lead with 1:25 remaining in the first half. Boozer scored the first six points during the run and Kirilenko added four. The Jazz led by 13 at the break and by as many as 16 in the third, but the Pacers rallied, scoring the final seven points of the period to cut the deficit to 67-61.
Utah increased the lead to 10 points and put away the contest with eight straight points for an 83-65 lead with five minutes left. Williams started the run with a jumper and Gordan Giricek added a runner and two free throws before Williams sank two from the line to cap the run.
Indiana scored just 11 points in the fourth quarter.
Troy Murphy scored 15 points and Danny Granger and Darrell Armstrong added 12 apiece for the Pacers, who have lost seven straight games for the first time since November 28-December 11, 2004.
Indiana dropped to 0-3 on its four-game road trip.
UTAH 94 FINAL
Mar 7 11:21 PM
UTAH 67 END, 3RD QTR
Mar 7 10:48 PM
UTAH 50 HALFTIME
Mar 7 10:06 PM
UTAH 24 END, 1ST QTR
Mar 7 9:37 PM
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