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Michael Brandy, Deseret Morning News
Jazz's Deron Williams drives by Ryan Gomes of the Timberwolves on Wednesday. Williams had his 49th double-double of the season.

One came in the form of a friendly halftime reminder. The other was shaped like a certain especially large Turk.

Together, a memo by way of pointed words at the break and a Memo named Okur combined to make the difference as the Jazz avenged Sunday's loss at Minnesota with Wednesday night's 117-100 victory over the Timberwolves at sold-out EnergySolutions Arena.

Mehmet "Memo" Okur finished with a game-high 22 points for the Northwest Division-leading Jazz, including 13 during a decisive 38-22 third quarter that allowed Utah to become the fifth team with at least 50 victories — along with San Antonio, New Orleans, Phoenix and the Los Lakers — in the NBA's Western Conference this season.

"It definitely made a difference having Memo out there," said point guard Deron Williams, who had 19 points and a game-high 14 assists for his 49th double-double of the season.

Okur was absent with a stomach virus when the Jazz lost 110-103 on Sunday, but his presence Wednesday opened the floor for Utah — especially during a third quarter in which Utah blew things opens, going from three up at halftime to 19 ahead at 91-72 heading into the fourth.

At one point in the third, a period in which Utah shot 15-of-21 from the field, the 6-foot-11 starting center from Turkey scored 10 straight Jazz points — including two 3-pointers.

He finished with three treys in the quarter, helping give the Jazz 12 on the night — the second straight game in which Utah, which hit a franchise-record 15 3s in Monday's win over Washington, made at least a dozen shots from behind the long-distance line.

"They weren't even plays," Williams said of Okur's scoring streak. "One of them was a pick-and-roll; I found him. Another one I think I broke the play and found him. And then another one was transition. I knew he was hot at that point, so I just tried to kind of tried to suck the defense in and he was trailing for a 3."

Okur's scorching hand, Jazz power forward Carlos Boozer suggested, stemmed largely from a defensive predicament faced by Minnesota on Wednesday that was not was an issue when he was sick and out of the lineup Sunday.

"They (the Timberwolves) packed the lane," Boozer said. "They were so worried about layups and dunks with me and DWill (Williams), and they left Memo wide open. They give Memo shots, and Memo is going to knock them down.

"That's the great thing about him," Boozer added. "It's kind of like 'pick your poison.'"

An anecdote for the Jazz's first-half woes came from coach Jerry Sloan, who extolled the virtues of making the extra pass.

"We came in and we talked about some things, made some adjustments," Williams said.

They were noticeable, too.

"We did it, I thought, a little bit more the right way," said Sloan, whose club — with six games still to go in its regular season, including Friday's against defending NBA champion San Antonio — reached the 50-win mark for a second straight season.

"We were able to get in the open court and get a little better look at the basket," Sloan added, "rather than one pass and stand and hold it, one pass and stand and hold it."

That and some ramped-up defense — 19-55 Minnesota shot 59.4 percent in the first half, but just 38.1 in the second — really did make a difference.

Utah's advantage, in fact, never dipped below 17 — and rose to as high as 24 — in the final quarter.

"We weren't making the extra pass in the first half, and it was showing," Williams said. "I think we got a selfish.

"In the second half," he added, "we came out and we shared the ball well, we helped each other and we were unselfish offensively and defensively."

NOTES: Boozer came up three rebounds shy of his 51st double-double of the season. Minnesota's Al Jefferson also failed to record a double-double. Both remain stuck on 50, and are tied for second place among league leaders in that stat category behind Orlando's Dwight Howard, who has 64. Williams is fourth with his 49. ... Jazz small forward Andrei Kirilenko returned to the starting lineup after missing two games with a bruised right calf, but shooting guard Ronnie Brewer missed a second straight game with a strained groin. Kirilenko finished with 13 points and six rebounds in 24 minutes. ... Brewer was replaced in the opening lineup for a second straight game by usual backup point guard Ronnie Price, who impressed Sloan with his high energy in Monday's win. ... Ex-Jazz guard Kirk Snyder scored six points but shot just 1-of-5 from the field in 26 minutes off the bench for the Timberwolves. ... Seldom-used former University of Utah big man Michael Doleac appeared in just his 20th game of the season for Minnesota. He had three points and four rebounds in nine minutes. ... The Timberwolves' five road wins this season are an NBA-low.


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