Boozer powers Jazz to rout of PacersJan 9, 2008 - 5:31 AM By Chris Bellamy PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer
SALT LAKE CITY (Ticker) -- Three nights ago in Portland, nothing was falling for Carlos Boozer. Tuesday night, he was back home and back in All-Star form.
Boozer scored 22 points on 9-of-14 shooting to lead the Utah Jazz to an easy 111-89 victory over the Indiana Pacers.
"I knew I'd get back to scoring what I usually do," Boozer said. "I don't worry about games where I don't shoot well. I work too hard."
Even without starting forward and defensive stalwart Andrei Kirilenko - scratched from the lineup with inflammation in his lower back - the Jazz found contributions from practically everyone else on the floor, as eight players scored at least nine points in the rout.
It couldn't have come much easier for Utah in the early-going as they exploded for a 40-point first quarter thanks to a physical attack that the Pacers had no answer for.
The Jazz went to the free-throw line 16 times in the first period alone while forcing an astonishing 10 turnovers by Indiana.
"We were very aggressive defensively, and that set the tone for us offensively," Boozer said. "We got some steals, we capitalized on our steals, we played really good defense, made them take tough shots. That set the tone for the game."
Holding a nine-point lead with four minutes to play in the first, Mehmet Okur - who has been struggling all season after an All-Star appearance a year ago - kick-started a 16-4 run with a crowd-raising 3-pointer that pushed the lead into double digits for good.
"I thought we came out and pushed the ball hard in transition, and we were able to get some confidence that way," Utah point guard Deron Williams said. "Our energy was definitely higher than it has been in a long time. We had 29 deflections at halftime, so guys were hustling."
Moments later, the second unit came in, as Okur, Williams and C.J. Miles, who was starting in Kirilenko's place, made way for Jarron Collins, Jason Hart and Matt Harpring. Even with most of Indiana's starting lineup still on the floor, the results were the same.
"Our second group, I thought they had a very good game," Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said. "They played extremely well. They just executed the offense and passed the ball."
In fact, the Jazz kicked it into another gear with the second unit.
Hart - the backup point guard, averaging just 3.1 points in his first season with the club - scored four straight in the final minute of the first period and carried that over into the second, burying a 3-point bucket to make it 44-19 at the 10:05 mark.
"Our bench has been phenomenal," Boozer said. "Especially the games we win, and win big, our bench comes in and plays terrific. We've got guys that come off the bench that are ready to play ball."
Naturally, a 25-point edge was a nearly impossible pace to keep up and, eventually, the Pacers whittled down their deficit, as Jamaal Tinsley and Danny Granger - who scored nine straight at one point - caught fire.
But cutting Utah's lead in half was as good as it got. After closing to within 67-54 early in the second half, the Jazz responded.
"I think we got a little lackadaisical," Williams said. "We just needed to go in and re-focus. (The Pacers) came out in that second half and hit some shots that gave us a little scare, but we were able to get it back and started playing defense again."
Not surprisingly, they went right back to their bread-and-butter, the pick-and-roll, as Williams found Boozer on the wing for back-to-back jumpers to firmly take back control.
"It's certainly no fun," Pacers coach Jim O'Brien said. "Our guys never gave up but we just couldn't close the gap enough to make it a game."
Harpring had a season-high 16 points and five boards off the bench for the Jazz, who built their lead as high as 30 points and won for the third time in four games.
Granger scored 16 points and Tinsley added 13 for Indiana.
UTAH 111 FINAL
Jan 8 11:20 PM
UTAH 90 END, 3RD QTR
Jan 8 10:52 PM
UTAH 67 HALFTIME
Jan 8 10:11 PM
UTAH 40 END, 1ST QTR
Jan 8 9:40 PM
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