Williams, Okur hold off Pistons in double-overtime thrillerDec 20, 2008 - 5:34 AM By Chuck Klonke PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer
AUBURN HILLS, Michigan (Ticker) -- The Utah Jazz kept their winning streak against the Detroit Pistons alive - with a major assist from a former Piston.
Mehmet Okur, who broke into the NBA with Detroit and was a member of the squad that won the 2004 NBA championship, scored 12 of his 26 points in the fourth quarter Friday and added three more in the second overtime as the Jazz survived with a thrilling 120-114 triumph.
"It was a huge win for us on the road," Okur said. "They made some tough shots. We made some tough shots - and it was a long game. It's all about getting the 'W' and we got it."
Utah has won nine of the last 10 meetings with Detroit, including the last seven in a row. The Jazz haven't lost at the Palace since March 13, 2005.
"It's special," Utah point guard Deron Williams said. "It's a tough team. It's a tough place to play. Our styles are similar so it's always a physical defensive battle."
Neither team had much room to breathe all night - particularly down the stretch. One dramatic shot would be answered by another. A game-changing turnover would be reciprocated moments later on the other end.
Jazz point guard Deron Williams thought he had the game won with a turnaround, fadeaway jumper with less than three seconds remaining in regulation. But Richard Hamilton answered from the baseline on the other end to force the extra frame.
In the first overtime, it was the other way around. Detroit took a lead on Tayshaun Prince's jumper with 35 seconds on the clock - and it was Williams who responded, connecting from 18 feet to force another overtime.
But this time, the Jazz were finally able to maintain some semblance of control - albeit by the slimmest of margins, for most of the period. Paul Millsap's dunk put the Jazz ahead for good just 15 seconds into the second overtime, but the Pistons didn't make it easy, repeatedly pulling to within one or two points but failing to get over the hump.
With Utah nursing a one-point lead with less than a minute left, Williams barreled into the paint but kicked out to an open Kyle Korver on the left wing. After struggling all night, Korver buried it from long range, opening up a four-point cushion.
"I was so ecstatic," Williams said of Korver's 3-pointer. "I didn't know if I had another overtime in me."
Allen Iverson's driving layup moments later pulled Detroit back to within two, but the Jazz closed out the victory at the foul line.
Williams led Utah with 29 points and eight assists and Millsap had 24 - including six in the second overtime - and 12 rebounds for his 14th consecutive double-double.
"He was much quicker to the basketball tonight," Utah coach Jerry Sloan said of Williams, who has been battling a sprained ankle all season. "He was able to get on top of the basket. I'd say that was his quickest game in the past month. He made some great plays and he always makes a difference."
Iverson scored 38 points for Detroit, a season high and his most since joining the Pistons in a November 3 trade. Richard Hamilton added 30.
"I thought we played a real good game tonight, but just not good enough," Detroit coach Michael Curry said. "They posted us up some (with the smaller lineup) but Rip and A.I. got loose, so I think we won that battle. A.I. had 38 and Rip had 30 - I'll take that."
After taking a first-quarter lead, Detroit kept it throughout the second, but Williams kept the Jazz close with 15 of his 17 first-half points, including a 3-point bucket with less than three seconds remaining in the half to cut the Pistons' lead to 48-43 at the break.
The Pistons struggled at the start of the second half, failing to score on their first five possessions. Utah went ahead for the first time since the opening frame, 51-50, on Ronnie Brewer's three-point play at the 9:13 mark.
Iverson scored 10 points in the third quarter and Detroit took a 70-69 lead into the fourth. Millsap scored the first basket of the final quarter but the Pistons answered with a 10-2 run, capped by consecutive baskets by Antonio McDyess - the second coming on a no-look pass from Hamilton. The spurt gave Detroit an 80-73 lead.
But Utah responded with a 15-2 surge, sparked by eight points from Okur.
"I didn't do what I wanted in the first half," Okur said. "In the second half, I stayed hungry. I didn't give up and my teammates did a good job of creating shots for me. I played with a lot of confidence in the second half."
Utah led 96-88 after two free throws by Andrei Kirilenko with 1:24 left, but Rasheed Wallace hit his second straight 3-point basket and Rodney Stuckey stole the ball from Kyle Korver under Detroit's basket and dropped in a layup to pull the Pistons even at 96-96.
Though Hamilton's heroics at the end of regulation propelled the Pistons into overtime, he wasn't available at the end of the game, as he was one of four Pistons players to foul out late.
"That definitely helped, having Rasheed (Wallace) sit," Williams said. "He hit those two shots late in the game and he was starting to feel it. And Rip had a real good game. It helped having some of their better guys sitting on the bench."
Iverson agreed that foul trouble was a factor.
"We had four guys foul out and they didn't have any," he said. "That makes it tough to win."
DETROIT 114 FINAL IN 2ND OT
Dec 19 11:01 PM
DETROIT 106 END OF 4TH QTR GOING INTO OVERTIME
Dec 19 10:44 PM
DETROIT 70 END, 3RD QTR
Dec 19 9:52 PM
DETROIT 48 HALFTIME
Dec 19 9:06 PM
DETROIT 29 END, 1ST QTR
Dec 19 8:35 PM
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