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Boozer, Harpring lead Jazz past lowly Grizzlies

Mar 25, 2007 - 6:13 AM SALT LAKE CITY (Ticker) -- The Utah Jazz needed just one half to send the Memphis Grizzlies packing.

All-Star Carlos Boozer collected 28 points and 15 rebounds and Matt Harpring scored 24 points off the bench as the Jazz coasted to a 118-108 triumph over the lowly Grizzlies.

Deron Williams had 21 points and 13 assists and Andrei Kirilenko added 12 points and four blocks for Utah, which will clinch its first playoff berth in four years with its next win - or with losses from either the Los Angeles Clippers or Golden State.

"I think 30 games ago we knew we were going to the playoffs, so it's not that big of a deal for us right now," Harpring said.

"I think that's one of the things this team had to do starting off the year, try to get in the playoffs," Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said. "Obviously, you want to finish as high as you can."

The Jazz (45-24) have captured five straight games at Energy Solutions Arena as they bounced back from Friday's 104-72 road loss to the Clippers.

"This speaks volumes about our character, how we bounced back (Saturday)," Boozer said. "We still have 13 games to fine-tune some things but I'm very proud of this team."

Dahntay Jones' layup helped the Grizzlies pull within 38-35 with 8:27 remaining in the second quarter, but they never got any closer.

The Jazz used an impressive 13-2 surge to forge a 51-37 lead with 4:48 to go. Rookie Paul Millsap scored seven of his 11 points during the run.

"We just started sharing the ball in that second quarter and I think it was contagious," Harpring said. "That's the way we're really good. If we can just play like that and learn from this game, we're gonna be a tough team to beat. When we play a different style, we're not that good of a team."

Taken 17th in the second round last June, Millsap grabbed 14 rebounds as the Jazz held a 46-38 edge on the glass.

"That's how I try to play every night," Millsap said. "That's what they drafted me for - to rebound. I try to get as many rebounds as I can. When we come out there with the kind of intensity that we showed, there's no telling what we can do."

Later in the period, Williams fed Kirilenko for a jumper to spark a 10-2 quarter-ending surge as the Jazz grabbed a commanding 67-45 bulge at intermission and never looked back.

"We play at our best when the ball is moving and there's not much dribbling," said Jazz guard Derek Fisher, who had eight points and seven assists. "I think that makes all of us more effective when the ball is moving that way, and I think that's what allows us to be successful."

Utah shot 53 percent (26-of-49) from the floor in the opening half and outscored Memphis in the second period, 35-17. The Jazz's 67 first-half points were a season high.

"We have to be the worst coaching staff in the NBA because the plays they ran, we talked about at our shootaround and they still got open layups," Memphis interim coach Tony Barone said. "So we're not explaining what we should be doing on the plays."

Jones scored 26 points and Pau Gasol had 25 and 10 rebounds for the Grizzlies, who dropped the opener of their six-game road swing. Rookie Tarence Kinsey netted 20 points off the bench.

  • NBA
    MEMPHIS 108
    UTAH 118 FINAL

    Mar 24 11:26 PM

  • NBA
    MEMPHIS 78
    UTAH 95 END, 3RD QTR

    Mar 24 10:53 PM

  • NBA
    MEMPHIS 45

    Mar 24 10:09 PM

  • NBA
    MEMPHIS 28
    UTAH 32 END, 1ST QTR

    Mar 24 9:41 PM