for this game

Kirilenko, Boozer lead shorthanded Jazz past Bucks

Nov 20, 2008 - 5:50 AM By Tony Pizza PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

SALT LAKE CITY (Ticker) -- Like the rest of the Utah Jazz, C.J. Miles would like to have star point guard Deron Williams back with the team. But for the second straight game, Miles and the rest of Utah's backcourt thrived without him.

Miles scored 25 points, fill-in point guard Ronnie Price added 16 more to go with six assists and the Jazz stayed unbeaten at home with a 105-94 win over the visiting Milwaukee Bucks.

All that despite being down two point guards.

"I'm just being aggressive, being assertive," Miles said. "I'm looking for a chance to create, not for myself, but for somebody else. And then if I can get an open layup or something to get me going, guys are finding me."

The Jazz have been without Williams - who has been nursing a sprained left ankle - for most of the last month since he suffered the injury this preseason. But on Wednesday night, they also had to go without backup Brevin Knight, who hurt his left hip abductor Monday against the Phoenix Suns.

But Utah used a ferocious defensive attack to rally from behind for its second straight win. Andrei Kirilenko and Paul Millsap provided a huge spark off the bench, combining for 24 points, 13 boards, nine blocks and five steals as Utah shut down Milwaukee in the final period.

"The second group - Andrei and Paul Millsap and those guys, they got us going again and got us the lead with hustle plays," Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said. "We tried to do a better job defensively, and that's what we had to do to finish the ballgame."

The Jazz fell behind by as many as 10 in the third before storming back. They staged an 8-0 run bridging the third and fourth quarters and Carlos Boozer buried back-to-back layups with just under eight minutes to play to give Utah the lead for good.

Boozer collected 20 points and 11 rebounds for his sixth double-double of the season before leaving late in the final period with a strained left quadriceps tendon. The Jazz came back to win by double digits despite trailing for most of the middle portion of the game.

"It's good to keep winning, but we need to stop losing people," Kirilenko said. "We won but, if we keep losing people, that's not good."

Richard Jefferson led the way for the Bucks with 25 points, including 14 during the Bucks' 37-point second quarter that gave them a 53-51 lead at halftime.

"We couldn't really get into a rhythm offensively," Jefferson said. "But we had our opportunities to come in here, we were up 10 in the second half, really came out here to start the second half and set the tone. We just didn't finish the job."

Utah took control early but blew a 16-point lead, as Jefferson's 3-pointer with 1:41 left in the first half gave the Bucks the lead. The Jazz did not regain the lead again until Kirilenko found Kyle Korver for a layup with 10:13 left in the game.

"We were up 10 and just relaxed and kind of stopped playing for several minutes and allowed them to get back in the game," Bucks head coach Scott Skiles said. "We had three or four turnovers and a couple just not running back on defense and they were able to score and get the building into the game."

Kirilenko filled up the stat sheet as usual, finishing with 16 points, seven rebounds, five steals and four blocks, including a steal and breakaway dunk with 4:22 left in the game to put the Jazz up, 92-86. He was just two assists and a block from his fourth career five-by-five performance (registering at least five in all the positive categories).

"He's really playing well ... he's playing different positions and he's thriving coming off the bench," Bucks center Andrew Bogut said. "He's coming off with a lot of energy and he's really helping the team."

The Bucks had four players score in double figures - including Bogut, who had 16 points and 20 rebounds.

Bogut, who played his college ball at nearby University of Utah and won National Player of the Year honors, received a warm reception from the crowd during player introductions.

All-Star center Mehmet Okur returned for the Jazz after missing four games due to personal reasons and Monday's game against Phoenix due to back spasms. He was held to one point and had five rebounds in just under 20 minutes.

Miles' 3-pointer with 2:34 left in the game gave the Jazz a 95-86 cushion. He scored nine of Utah's final 13 points and finished as the team's leading scorer for the second consecutive game.

"Coach told us to pick it up, push the ball up the court and try and make some plays on defense," Price said. "The crowd was great tonight, they stayed behind us. We had different guys step up at different key moments in the game, and that's why we are called a team."

Before the contest, Jazz head coach Jerry Sloan was honored for his 1,000 win with the franchise, a milestone he achieved back on November 7 against Oklahoma City. The ceremony was postponed due to a week-long road trip on the East Coast and owner Larry Miller's poor health on Monday.

"I have been very fortunate to have been here this long and I know there's not much time on your ticker when you've been here as long as I have," Sloan said. "I've had terrific support and the fans have been great and I just want to say thanks."

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