for this game

Okur, Jazz slow down Paul, Hornets

Apr 9, 2008 - 3:38 AM By Michael Nissman PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

NEW ORLEANS (Ticker) -- Mehmet Okur and the Utah Jazz had too much defense for the New Orleans Hornets on Tuesday at the New Orleans Arena.

Okur had 22 points and 17 rebounds and Deron Williams dished out 16 assists as the Jazz snapped the Hornets' 11-game home winning streak with a 77-66 victory.

Andrei Kirilenko and Carlos Boozer each chipped in 10 points for Utah (52-26), which moved within 2 1/2 games of New Orleans (54-23) for first place in the Western Conference.

The win also helped Utah clinch the Northwest Division for the third straight season.

"We didn't shoot the ball very well tonight, but we played good enough defense to win the game and for us that's the biggest line," Boozer said.

In a contest that featured a combined 41 turnovers, the Hornets shot just 37 percent (27-of-74) from the floor en route to their lowest-scoring game of the season. Their previous low was 71 at Utah on November 23.

"It was the first game in a long time that we weren't patient offensively," New Orleans coach Byron Scott said. "It was the first time in a long time that I can remember that we just couldn't make shots on a consistent basis."

Utah led by eight at the break and later in the third quarter, reserve forward Paul Millsap hit a 18-foot jumper to give Utah its first double-digit lead at 58-48 with 4:01 remaining.

The Jazz continued to widen their lead, scoring the final eight points of the third period to take a 68-50 bulge entering the fourth. Utah, which had ended the third on a 19-4 run, led by as many as 20 early in the final period after another basket from Millsap.

Boozer said the Jazz were poised not repeat their last trip to New Orleans, which resulted in a 110-98 defeat on February 29.

"They kicked our butt the last time we were played here, and we didn't forget about that," he said.

The Hornets tried to make a run in the fourth, using an 8-0 spurt to cut the deficit to 73-62 with 3:40 remaining, but New Orleans never was able to get any closer than nine the rest of the way.

"We had a tough time scoring and playing in a rhythm," Hornets center Tyson Chandler said. "It was one of those games that was more of their (Utah) style. They are better at ugly games that we are."

Hornets leading scorer Chris Paul, who averages 21.5 points per game, was limited to just four points on 2-of-11 shooting. The lightning-quick guard had nine assists and scored New Orleans' final basket with 56 seconds to play.

"I don't think we did anything special," Utah coach Jerry Sloan said about defending Paul. "We had to have help trying to keep him from getting down the middle of the floor. You're not going to stop the guy, he just didn't have a particularly good game."

The Jazz had a three-point lead after the opening quarter but the Hornets' reserves helped New Orleans grab a 35-34 lead with 6:49 remaining in the first half.

But that would be the last points of the half for the Hornets, who missed their final 15 shots of the second quarter and saw Utah take a 43-35 bulge at the break.

Peja Stojakovic led the way with 15 points for the Hornets, who had won five straight games overall.

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