A spinning draw-and-kick play on the baseline by Andrei Kirilenko resulted in a Carlos Boozer dunk to break a 93-93 tie Saturday night, the only time Orlando was even with the Utah Jazz except for 0-0.
Then came a Deron Williams pass to Mehmet Okur at the 3-point line.
Okur cashed in for a 99-93 lead, then rebounded a missed Orlando free throw and a Williams miss and Okur went up for an off-balance tipin for a 100-94 lead. It wasn't the ballgame, but Okur's five points and two rebounds in a minute helped give the Jazz breathing room.
His next two points, free throws, gave Okur his season high of 29 points and the Jazz a nine-point lead with 1:10 left in what would become a 119-115 Jazz victory at EnergySolutions Arena against the leader of the NBA's Southeast Division.
Okur was coming off a 22-point, season-high 17-rebound game Thursday night in a Utah win against Phoenix. He had eight rebounds Saturday before fouling out with 1:04 left after playing Dwight Howard much of the night.
"Last two games have been great. That's the kind of Memo we had last season. That's the Memo we're looking for the rest of this season," said Jazz power forward Carlos Boozer.
"He's played awfully well here as of late," said coach Jerry Sloan. "I think he's shooting the ball as well as any time this year."
That's 19-for-34 in his last two games to go with 6-for-7 at the line and 7-for-14 on threes.
"Myself, my teammates just kept telling me, 'Shoot the ball, shoot the ball,'" said Okur. "They really trust me right now and believe in me. Well, really makes me feel good now."
Okur has been dogged with physical problems much of the season, starting with a toe injury that he brought into training camp, and back spasms kept him out of a game. Then the shoulder injury, a strained left trapezius muscle suffered in the Dec. 11 Portland game, put him out for seven games. In his first three seasons with Utah, he missed only two games.
"I wasn't like that in my career. I never miss so many games like that in (that) short of a time at the beginning of the season. It's hard to get used to it," he said. "It's not an excuse right now to myself didn't play good, but I tried to really do my best."
But now that he's feeling better and being home means a number of practice sessions, "This is a great time for myself," Okur said."We have a lot of home games going on right now. I'm just trying to catch up my shooting shape and my running shape because I was out like five, six games, and couldn't do any practice. I feel really good now."
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