Boozer, Jazz overcame sluggish start to rout HornetsNov 24, 2007 - 5:47 AM By Chris Bellamy PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer
SALT LAKE CITY (Ticker) -- Three days of rest over the Thanksgiving holiday looked to be taking its toll on the Utah Jazz for one half anyway.
The second half was a different story, as the Jazz overcame their struggles and ran away with a 99-71 victory over the visiting New Orleans Hornets on Friday night.
Carlos Boozer registered yet another double-double with 19 points and 16 boards and Ronnie Brewer added 13 points and three steals for Jazz, who won their sixth straight home game.
With all eyes on the ongoing battle between third-year point guards Deron Williams and Chris Paul who were selected back-to-back in the 2005 draft it was their supporting casts doing much of the work.
In the waning minutes of a sluggish first half in which the two clubs combined for 20 turnovers, the Jazz turned a seven-point deficit into a one-point lead with Williams sitting on the bench, having picked up his third foul.
"We got a couple days off and we got out of our rhythm a little bit," Jazz forward Andrei Kirilenko said. "We started getting in our offense (late in the second), started sharing the ball and helping defensively."
Reserve point guard Ronnie Price a local product from Utah Valley State College hit a long jumper to cut the Hornets' lead to three.
Just moments later, Price went the length of the floor to finish off a fast break with a dunk to slice into the deficit even further.
Kirilenko - who was quiet for most of the game's first 24 minutes - put the finishing touch on a 10-2 run with a steal and a dunk to give Utah its first lead since early in the first quarter.
"We had a short little run, then got the momentum at the half," Boozer said. "We just used that momentum in the third quarter and kept playing hard defense."
When the second-half whistle blew, it was more of the same for Utah, which scored the first eight points of the third quarter.
Brewer, who was attacking the Hornets in the paint all night, kept with that right from the start of the second half - driving, drawing a foul and knocking down a pair of free throws to get things started.
"They were smaller and he posted up a couple of times, and plus he got in the open floor and made a couple of plays," Jazz head coach Jerry Sloan said of his second-year guard. "He just seems to be getting better and better as time goes on."
And even when he misfired as he did two minutes later on an attempted layup his teammates were there to clean up the mess. Kirilenko tipped in Brewer's miss as the Jazz took a commanding 52-43 lead.
Paul's short jumper on the other end was the Hornets' first field goal since the 2:55 mark of the second quarter.
That bucket sparked a mini-run of eight straight points by the Hornets to pull back into contention, but Mehmet Okur buried a quick 3-pointer to make it a four-point game.
Brewer followed with back-to-back layups as the Jazz took command for good.
Kirilenko swatted away David West's attempted layup just seconds later, igniting another fast break the other way. Fittingly, the 6-9 Russian forward finished it off himself, burying a short jumper to put the lead back to eight.
Okur - who played a sloppy first half, missing his first five shots and consistently getting beaten inside by New Orleans' Tyson Chandler finally caught fire after the break, scoring eight in the third period.
For the Hornets, West did his best Boozer impersonation with 18 points and 14 rebounds, and he and Chandler constantly cleaned up the mess that was the Hornets' outside shooting with tip-ins and deflections in the paint.
New Orleans was an astonishing 1-of-17 from 3-point range.
"If you're not making shots from the outside, then they aren't going to give you anything on the interior and we didn't get it going," West said. "Once you don't get it going in terms of shots, especially three-pointers, they are just too relentless on the interior."
The always publicized Williams-Paul battle didn't quite materialize, as both young stars finished with modest performances. Williams had 12 points and seven assists for Utah, and Paul had 15 and six for New Orleans.
Price, whose minutes have been dramatically increasing in recent games, scored 12 off the bench and Kirilenko had eight points, six boards and three blocks for Utah.
"Our bench came in and played terrific ball tonight," Boozer said. "They played great basketball for us, getting us a bigger lead and then we came back in the fourth and finished it off."
NEW ORLEANS 71
UTAH 99 FINAL
Nov 23 11:20 PM
NEW ORLEANS 64
UTAH 75 END, 3RD QTR
Nov 23 10:51 PM
HALFTIME 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
--- --- --- --- -----
NEW ORLEANS 24 19 43
UTAH 20 24 44 HALFTIME
HIGH SCORERS AT HALFTIME
NOR - DAVID WEST 13, CHRIS PAUL 11, TYSON
UTH - CARLOS BOOZER 10, MATT HARPRING 7,
RONNIE BREWER 7
Nov 23 10:11 PM
NEW ORLEANS 24
UTAH 20 END, 1ST QTR
Nov 23 9:40 PM
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