for this game

Okur, Williams carry Jazz to shootout win over Pacers

Jan 13, 2009 - 6:47 AM By Tony Pizza PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

SALT LAKE CITY (Ticker) -- Mehmet Okur had a career night, but he needed plenty of help from his friends to hold off the Indiana Pacers.

After Okur staked the team out to a big lead on the strength of a career-high 43 points, Deron Williams put the clamps on a late Indiana rally as the Jazz held on for their fourth straight victory, 120-113, on Monday night.

"I felt good," Okur said. "I felt like it was one of those nights for me. I wasn't going to miss. You know, I felt my shot ... everything was going to fall for me, all shots in."

Utah squandered a 20-point lead in the second half, as the Pacers stormed back and pulled as close as three. Mike Dunleavy made the Jazz pay for giving up back-to-back offensive rebounds, burying a 3-pointer with 2:48 remaining to cut the deficit to 109-106.

"I think we have to give them a lot of credit for the way they hung in the ballgame after they played last night," Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said. "They had a tough game, and then to come in here and play us and, after we got them down, they just kept playing."

Williams' 3-point attempt rattled in and out on the other end, but Andrei Kirilenko was there for the putback dunk to extend the lead to five.

After a turnover by Indiana, Williams froze his defender on a hesitation dribble, drove down the lane and softly dropped in a layup to make it a 113-106 game. Jarrett Jack answered from the arc on the other end, but Williams would not be outdone.

After nearly turning the ball over, the star point guard recovered the loose ball, stepped up from more than 30 feet out and buried a dagger as the shot clock ran out.

"I thought we played great defense," Pacers head coach Jim O'Brien said. "I thought our defense was absolutely outstanding in the second half. If a guy hits a lucky shot, there's nothing you can do about it, but defensively we held them to 37 percent in the second half."

Okur's previous career best was a 38-point output nearly a year ago to the day.

He helped Utah fill its big-man void, as both of its power forward workhorses, Carlos Boozer and Paul Millsap, missed the game due to injuries. Okur was 13-of-19 from the field, 3-of-4 from the arc and 14-of-15 from the foul line.

"He's shot like that before," Sloan said. "It's not like - maybe not quite that much - but he's the kind of guy, he's been shooting extremely well."

Williams finished with 23 points and 11 assists after failing to reach double figures in either area in his previous two games as he fought through a sinus infection. Kirilenko added 23 points and 12 boards while filling in for Millsap for just his fourth start of the season.

"You see three or four shots at the end, right under the basket, right at the second we need it," Kirilenko said. "I like that."

Millsap was sidelined with a bruised left knee and is day-to-day, while Boozer is out for at least another month after undergoing knee surgery on Friday.

Even with three players clearing the 20-point mark, the Jazz needed just about every point to beat the Pacers.

Danny Granger finished with 30 points, his 13th time reaching that plateau this season, and the Pacers turned a 20-point deficit into a competitive basketball game with a 16-0 run that bridged the third and fourth quarters.

"First half, we were non-existent," Granger said. "We picked it up a little more in the second half."

Williams' jump shot with 3:46 left in the third was the last time Utah would score for more than six minutes. The Pacers trimmed a 96-76 deficit to nine points by the end of the third.

The Jazz actually thought they went into the fourth quarter with a 12-point lead. After a review by the officials, Kyle Korver's made 3-pointer at the buzzer was waved off. Just twelve seconds into the fourth quarter, Mike Dunleavy's 3-pointer cut the Pacers' deficit to just 96-90.

Dunleavy's layup with 3:55 remaining in the game brought the Pacers to within four at 107-103. Williams buried a pair of free throws second later to push the lead back to six before Dunleavy's three - the 12th of Indiana's 13 on the night - cut the lead in half.

"We wanted to come out tonight against this team and start out well," Dunleavy said. "We did that offensively. It goes for both ends of the court. Defense, we didn't do that."

That was as close as the Pacers would get.

Williams, who had 11 points in the final frame, iced the game with a pair of free throws to put the Jazz at the 120-point mark for the third time this season. Their 70 first-half points set a season high.

All five Jazz starters scored in double figures, but none could compare to Okur, who scored 18 points after the first quarter alone.

The Pacers, who finished their five-game road trip at 1-4, gave up at least 110 points in all five games. Their opponents averaged 121.2 points during the Western Conference swing, but the Pacers averaged 115.4 themselves.

Despite allowing the Pacers to shoot 50 percent (42-of-84) compared to their 46 percent (39-of-85) shooting night, the Jazz got to the foul line 37 times (to Indiana's 19) and connected at a 92-percent clip.

"I obviously wanted to win the ballgame," Sloan said. "But those are mistakes, when you let the guy just drive to the basket, get on top of the basket."

Six Pacers finished in double figures, including Dunleavy, whose 10-point fourth quarter left him with 20 for the game.