Jazz pound Mavericks early, hold on late for winDec 27, 2007 - 5:40 AM SALT LAKE CITY (Ticker) -- The Utah Jazz enjoy one of the best home records in the NBA. On Wednesday, that "homecourt advantage" helped them get a five-plus minute head start on the Dallas Mavericks.
Carlos Boozer scored 21 points and Andrei Kirilenko added 17 - including baskets at several critical times to start runs - to lead the Jazz to a 99-90 victory over the Dallas Mavericks.
Utah improved to 10-2 at EnergySolutions Arena, but had all the help they needed from the Mavericks, who turned the ball over eight times and missed their first six shots in the first 5:12 of the opening stanza to allow the Jazz to take a quick 16-0 lead. Boozer scored 10 points during the game-opening run.
"We just weren't very good," Mavericks coach Avery Johnson said. "They came out with more intensity. They attacked the basket, we didn't. We shot jump shots. They were the aggressor, we were on our heels."
"Our defense was about as good in the first quarter as I've seen since I've been here," Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said. "If (we) can play defense like that the whole time, we'd be pretty good."
The Jazz maintained a double-digit lead throughout the period - even reclaiming a 16-point bulge at 29-13 with 33 seconds left in the period before Dallas closed the period with five straight points to narrow the gap to 11 points.
"We needed to come out with a lot of intensity and protect our homecourt," said Jazz guard Ronnie Brewer, who had 15 points and four steals. "We needed a win, so we pulled out all strings."
The Mavericks continued the long climb back, although the Jazz did not let the lead dwindle to less than seven until Dallas went on a 10-0 run with two minutes left before intermission - capped by a 3-pointer by Devin Harris with nine seconds remaining in the half - to transform a 45-36 deficit into a 46-45 advantage.
Kirilenko converted a two-handed dunk though with two seconds remaining to send the Jazz into the break with the lead at 47-46. He also scored the first four points during a quarter-opening 6-0 run to help the Jazz re-establish a seven-point lead early in the third, a quarter in which Dallas could get no closer than five points.
"We had all the momentum going into halftime," Dallas guard Devin Harris said. "They made some early shots in (the third quarter) and then at that point we dug ourselves a little bit too deep."
"They got back in the ballgame and we came out to start the second half and I thought our guys did a good job again," Sloan said.
Utah led by as many as 10 at several points in the final quarter until Devean George went on a personal 6-0 run with 3-pointers in consecutive possessions to cut the Jazz lead to 84-80 with 8:26 remaining.
The Mavericks got no closer than five points the rest of the way as Boozer and Mehmet Okur each scored four points to spark a game-ending 15-10 stretch.
Deron Williams finished with 17 points and 12 assists for the Jazz, who won for just the third time in their last 12 games.
"It's a good win for us," Boozer said. "It feels good to be on the other side. We beat a very good team and, hopefully, we can take that as confidence and move forward." Dirk Nowitzki had 20 points and nine rebounds for the Mavericks, who saw their five-game winning streak snapped.
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