for this game

Boozer, Millsap dominate paint as Jazz snap four-game skid

Mar 21, 2007 - 5:34 AM SALT LAKE CITY (Ticker) Carlos Boozer started it and rookie Paul Millsap inserted the dagger as the Utah Jazz avoided their longest losing streak in nearly two seasons.

Boozer collected 25 points and tied a career high with 21 rebounds and Millsap added 16 as the Jazz snapped a four-game losing streak with a 104-100 victory over the Golden State Warriors.

The Jazz have not lost five straight since November 12-19, 2005, but after four straight road losses last week - all to Eastern Conference teams - they came dangerously close.

"We needed this one bad. We struggled on the road trip. We didn't play good basketball," said Utah point guard Deron Williams, who dished out 17 assists. "It's definitely a relief to get this one; we're happy about that."

An oft-injured forward, Boozer has cemented himself as one of the most dominant power forwards in the NBA when healthy. Entering the game averaging 20.9 points and 11.6 rebounds, the All-Star continued his stellar play, shooting 11-of-18 from the floor.

"We had another great assist game," Boozer said. "We just had guys hitting shots. It was great to see everybody come together, especially in the second half."

But despite his efforts, the game was hanging in the balance in the fourth quarter. With the contest tied, Utah went on a 6-0 run capped by Andrei Kirilenko's two free throws to make it 97-91 with 3:29 left.

Millsap eventually iced the game with his first career 3-pointer a desperation heave with the shot clock at one that made it 104-97 with seven seconds left. The first-year forward scored 16 points on 6-of-9 shooting.

"It was a broken play and it worked out for us," Millsap said. "I just saw the shot clock going down. It got in my hands, it was like a hot potato, so I got it up and it went in."

"Yeah, we told him he could shoot that any day of the week. Only on days I wasn't here," Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said. "He played a terrific game. It was great that Paul played as well as he did. We really needed that."

Most of his scoring came in the second half, during which the Jazz had to battle back from a huge early deficit. Already reeling from their four consecutive losses, the Jazz continually left the perimeter wide open for the Warriors, who took full advantage.

Golden State hit 9-of-15 from the arc in the half, including five from forward Al Harrington.

"We were a little bit in shock because those guys came out, played really fast (and) they were hitting threes," Boozer said.

That was enough to give the Warriors as much as a 15-point lead on their way to a 60-53 halftime edge. But the hot shooting cooled a bit in the second half as the Jazz rallied.

"We tried to be more active," Boozer said of his team's second-half adjustments. "We just tried to make them make the extra pass or drop to the hoop."

The Warriors still held an 82-73 lead late in the fourth quarter, but the Jazz scored the next nine points to pull even and then took the lead for good on Matt Harpring's 15-footer at the 4:26 mark.

The Warriors, who were hot from the floor in the first half, went just 5-for-18 in the final period as they saw their three-game winning streak snapped.

"I thought we were the aggressor in the fourth quarter, but we just didn't play the defense we are capable of playing, said Golden State point guard Baron Davis, who scored 15 of his 20 points in the second half. "We got tired, and when we got tired we stopped concentrating."

Harrington scored 27 points on 9-of-16 shooting, including 7-of-10 from the arc, for the Warriors (32-37), who are tied with the Los Angeles Clippers (31-36) and one-half game ahead of New Orleans for the final playoff spot in the West.

"We gave up a golden opportunity tonight," Warriors guard Jason Richardson said. "This was a game where we just needed a little more focus, a little more determination to get over the hump. It's very upsetting because we needed this game."

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