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News » Boozer finally breaks loose as Jazz roll

Boozer finally breaks loose as Jazz roll

Boozer finally breaks loose as Jazz roll Carlos Boozer missed his first shot of the game Thursday night against the San Antonio Spurs ? a 15-footer that barely grazed the front of the rim with just under nine minutes to play in the opening quarter. And Boozer was booed by some folks in the hometown crowd at EnergySolutions Arena as a result.

But Boozer would quickly turn those jeers into cheers ? the boos into chants of "Booz" ? as the power forward played his best overall game of the young season in leading the Jazz to a late-night 113-99 victory in front of a sellout crowd and a national TNT audience. "Tonight we had a great effort by everybody out there ? especially on the defensive end," Boozer said in a TNT interview immediately after the game. Boozer, a two-time NBA All-Star and USA Olympian, entered Thursday's game averaging 12.8 points and nine rebounds per game, well shy of his averages in previous seasons with the Jazz . Boozer nearly posted those exact numbers once again ? in the first half alone. Boozer scored a team-high 13 points with eight boards and two blocked shots in the first half to lead the Jazz to a 60-50 lead. And the Jazz were able to hold on to a second-half lead ? unlike Tuesday when they blew a 16-point fourth quarter advantage in Dallas. The Jazz also collapsed in the fourth quarter in a loss to Houston on Monday. "We should have won both of those games," said Boozer. "We've got to finish games like we did tonight." Boozer, through the first four games, was shooting just 35 percent from the field. He made 12-of-20 shots on Thursday, finishing with season highs in both points ? with 27 ? and rebounds ? with 14 boards. He added three assists, two blocked shots and two steals, to boot. Perhaps as important to the Jazz as Boozer's scoring was his improved defense ? as well as the overall defensive effort of the entire team. Twice in the first quarter, when the Jazz were opening up their initial lead, Boozer tied up Tim Duncan as the Spurs star was driving to the hoop. Duncan finished just 15 points on the game and he had to work hard for them. "I'm just trying to calm down a little bit more out there whether I'm at home or on the road and relax a little bit more out there and just let the game flow," Boozer said at Thursday morning's shootaround. It worked. Boozer, of course, has been a huge topic for the Jazz thus far this season after a tumultuous summer when he spoke openly about the possibility of being traded and his desire to play for either Chicago or Miami if a deal were made. No trade was made, however, making for some awkwardness for Boozer and Jazz fans. His slow start to the season hadn't helped, either. But a few more games like Thursday's will go a long way toward once again Boozer becoming a favorite son in Utah. e-mail:

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Added: November 7, 2009


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