Tom Smart, Deseret News
SALT LAKE CITY — Maybe it was the Pixy Stix, Sno Caps and Smarties at halftime.
Actually, those were in the pressroom.
In any event, whatever it was that got the Jazz going at the start of Monday night's second half sure did do the trick.
Utah beat Boston 110-97 behind swingman C.J. Miles' game-high 23 points and point guard Deron Williams' 22-point, 11-assist double-double at sold-out EnergySolutions Arena, using a 33-19 third quarter to rally from five down at the break and end the Celtics' four-game win streak.
All five starters scored in double figures for the Jazz, who also got 14 points and a game-high 15 rebounds from center Mehmet Okur, including 11 points and seven boards in the decisive third.
"It was a great game, a grind-out game," said power forward Carlos Boozer, who added 19 points, including 11 during a fourth quarter in which Boston could not trim Utah's nine-point lead heading into the period to any fewer than seven.
"That's what the playoffs will be like, where every possession matters," added Boozer, who because of foul trouble played just 10 minutes in the first half. "It's fun to play games like that because that's what's ahead of us."
With just 11 regular-season games remaining now it was the fourth win in their last five outings and seventh straight at home for the 46-25 Jazz, who — combined with Dallas' loss Monday at New Orleans — moved to within a half-game of the third-place Mavericks in the NBA's Western Conference standings and to within a game-and-a-half of the second-place and Northwest Division-leading Denver Nuggets.
"This was a great win for our team," said coach Jerry Sloan, whose Jazz open a three-game trip Wednesday night at Toronto. "I thought everybody on our team played hard, and they played like a team should play.
"We had a little trouble in the second half," he added, "but right at the end of the first half we got back in the ballgame and gave ourselves a little bit of life, and it carried on for the rest of the game."
Down by 12 points with one minute and 43 seconds left before halftime, Utah — playing without starting small forward Andrei Kirilenko for the fifth time in six games because of his strained left calf — used a 7-0 close to the second quarter to head into the break down 54-49.
Miles — starting again in Kirilenko's spot — had three of those seven points, Williams two on a pair of free throws and rookie Wesley Matthews the other two on an 18-foot jumper fed by Okur.
Miles opened the third quarter with two freebies after getting fouled by Kevin Garnett, but it was Okur — who missed the Jazz's win over New Orleans on Saturday night due to a stomach ailment — who did most of the damage in the period.
"To be honest with you," he said, "I wasn't feeling well in the beginning. But in the third I wanted out to be active."
Was he ever.
Okur hit a 3-pointer just more than a minute into the period, making it 56-54 and giving the Jazz their first lead since the opening quarter.
Utah — 0-for-6 from behind the long-distance line in the first half, but 5-for-8 on trey tries in the third — never trailed again.
"I wanted to be active on the defensive end," Okur said, "and on the other end, my teammates just kept telling me to shoot the ball." So he did.
The big Turk hit 4-for-6 from the field, including 3-for-4 from 3-point range, in the third quarter alone.
And with that, the Jazz headed into the fourth up 82-73 — an advantage they extended to as many as 16 on a Matthews bucket inside with a minute to go.
"It was a big win," Williams said after Utah, 16-2 in its last 18 at home, improved to 25-1 when leading at EnergySolutions after three quarters and 26-2 in the building when scoring more than 100.
"I thought the second half, we did a great job defensively, making things tough for them," added Williams, whose double-double was his 37th this season on a night no one from Boston scored more than Ray Allen's 15. "I thought the first half they took us out of a lot of our stuff. Kind of a turn of events."
Thanks not to the candy, but mostly Miles, Okur and a point playing with a purpose.
- BYU football: Cougars face even more...
- Dick Harmon: Lone Peak's Quincy Lewis among...
- Bartley, Neilson leaving BYU's basketball team
- Nothing to frown about: 3 baby arrivals in 3...
- Dick Harmon: The Mangum brothers are a...
- Yeomans: What does it mean for Jimmer...
- Utes' center Jakob Poeltl says he'll return...
- Soccer: Taylor Booth is a 13-year-old phenom...
- Utes' center Jakob Poeltl says he'll... 61
- BYU football: Cougars face even more... 47
- Morning links: Krystkowiak shares his... 35
- Doug Robinson: The high cost of coaches 28
- Morning links: Booker ends the year... 17
- 3 Utes, 1 Aggie and 1 Cougar selected... 16
- Dick Harmon: The Mangum brothers are a... 16
- Dick Harmon: Lone Peak's Quincy Lewis... 15