Utah Jazz: Carlos Boozer gets boos and the last laugh in 93-89 Bulls win over Jazz
Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
SALT LAKE CITY — Carlos Boozer gave Utah Jazz fans even more reason to despise him Friday night.
The man who overshadowed Paul Millsap at the beginning of his NBA career cast a dark cloud over his old team and stole the spotlight from Al Jefferson at EnergySolutions Arena, scoring 11 of his team-high 19 points in the final five minutes.
Boozer's big finish helped him lift the Bulls to a 93-89 win and get some revenge against his old fans who were booing him all night.
"It was a good win for us," said Boozer, whose Bulls were blasted 128-96 in Denver on Thursday. "We came in today focused and had a great start to the game. They are a good team. they fought all the way back. Al and Sap had it rolling. At the end of the game, we did a good job finishing."
The Jazz's late-game collapse spoiled a sensational showing by Jefferson, who had a season-best 32 points on a season-high field goals (15 of 22). His shooting performance included a sizzling streak of 12 straight Utah points in the second half, which gave the Jazz a four-point lead after trailing by as many as 13 in the first half.
"With two guys on me and guys fronting me and all this stuff, we've just got to take advantage of that," said Jefferson, who didn't score in the final eight-and-a-half minutes. "I think we did, for the most part, we had a chance to win. Things just didn't go our way in the end."
Jefferson's huge night went for naught, though, thanks to Boozer, who hit a bucket with five minutes remaining to cut the Jazz's lead to 81-79. Shortly after that, the Bulls forward got a technical foul, but Randy Foye missed the freebie and the Boozer burst continued.
"I'm not sure he's the guy that beat us," Millsap said. "They've got a whole team, and they did a good job. Down the stretch, he hits a couple shots, got fouled, but that's not what lost us the game."
It certainly contributed, though.
Millsap hit a jumper to give Utah an 83-79 lead, but Boozer went on a personal 7-0 run to put the Bulls ahead 86-83 with 59.9 seconds remaining. Boozer answered another Millsap bucket with two clutch foul shots wtih 27.0 to go.
Utah had a chance to tie the game in the final seconds, but Millsap's 3-point shot from the corner was badly missed.
Millsap finished with 21 points, but the Jazz only scored 39 points in the second half against the feisty Bulls.
Utah fell to 28-23 and will travel to Sacramento for perhaps the final time to take on the Kings tonight.
Nate Robinson scored 18 points and dished out nine assists, and Joakim Noah (12 points and 11 rebounds) and Luol Deng (15 points and 10 boards) both hit key free throws in the final 22 seconds to seal the deal for Chicago.
It was the Bulls' fourth straight win over the Jazz. It also wrapped up a six-game road trip for the Bulls, who went 3-3 away from the United Center.
Boozer was plagued by foul problems and serenaded with a chorus of boos from disgruntled Jazz fans every time he touched the ball, but he had the last laugh after going on a scoring rampage in the final five minutes. His 11-point streak included 5 of 6 free throws and a technical foul.
It was Boozer's second visit since he left for Chicago in 2010 after spending six successful-but-injury-plagued seasons with the Jazz.
The timing of this Bulls-Jazz game was quite the coincidence. It came almost exactly two years to the day after the infamous Utah-Chicago matchup Feb. 9, 2011. It proved to be the final game of Hall of Fame coach Jerry Sloan's coaching career.
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