Final - OT
  for this game

Williams, Jazz hold off Nuggets in overtime

Feb 7, 2008 - 6:14 AM DENVER (Ticker) -- Deron Williams and the Utah Jazz made a statement in the Northwest Division.

Williams had 29 points and 11 assists for his ninth straight double-double as the Jazz held on for their 10th straight win, a 118-115 overtime victory over the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday night.

Kyle Korver added 27 points - including four crucial free throws in overtime - for Utah (32-18), which now is two games ahead Denver (29-19) in a tough division race.

"Last time we played the Nuggets we weren't as good a team as we are now," Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said. "Denver has a good team and it is nice that we were able to come away with a win."

One of the hottest teams in the NBA, the Jazz started off slowly this season after an appearance in last spring's Western Conference finals. They have turned it on recently, losing just twice in the new calendar year.

In addition, the Jazz snapped the Nuggets' three-game winning streak in dramatic fashion, announcing themselves as the team to beat in the division at the season's midway point.

"This was a great game," Utah forward Carlos Boozer said. "Both teams played extremely hard, and it was a physical playoff atmosphere."

But it did not come easy thanks to Allen Iverson, whose two free throws made it 115-114 with 48.8 seconds left in the extra period, setting up a wild sequence on the ensuing possession.

Being played on a switch by reigning Defensive Player of the Year Marcus Camby, Williams unsuccessfully tried to get the 6-11 center in the air with a pump-fake and got his shot blocked.

But Boozer retrieved the ball and found Korver, who was fouled by former Philadelphia 76ers teammate Iverson. Korver nailed two from the line to give the Jazz a one-point lead.

"Utah is a very physical team," Nuggets coach George Karl said. "The game got a little edgy at times, but there isn't anything wrong with that."

With a chance to take the lead on the game's decisive possession, Iverson missed a fadeaway jumper over Williams with 3.4 seconds left. Korver made two free throws to provide the final margin.

"I knew he was going to take the last shot and I was ready for it," Williams said. "It's a huge game for us to come out here and win on their court and keep the streak alive."

Trailing by three points in regulation, Williams nailed a contested 3-pointer from the left wing to tie the game with 17.8 ticks left. The clutch bucket was preceded by a crucial steal by Andrei Kirilenko.

On the ensuing possession, Iverson drove the lane - drawing four defenders - and found a wide-open Carmelo Anthony, who missed the potential game-winning shot as time expired in the fourth quarter.

"It's a little bit of a heartbreaker, a disappointment," Anthony said. "I had a wide-open shot, I just missed it. I had a chance to win it but it didn't go in."

Utah held a comfortable 56-41 advantage at halftime before Denver turned up its defense in the second half. The Nuggets outscored the Jazz, 65-50, to set up the close finish in the extra period.

Iverson had 34 points and 10 assists and Anthony added 29 and eight rebounds for Denver, which was coming off a dramatic overtime win over Portland on Monday.

"We had our chances but we didn't take advantage," Iverson said. "They were the better team tonight."

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