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News » Jazz win fourth straight

Jazz win fourth straight

Jazz win fourth straight It was throwback jersey night at EnergySolutions Arena, and the Utah Jazz nearly threw one back.

Seemingly, the Jazz had an easy victory in hand Friday against the struggling Indiana Pacers.

Utah bolted to a 19-point lead in the first quarter and rebuilt a 17-point advantage midway through the third.

Instead of coasting home, however, the Jazz had to hold off a desperate rally by Indiana before claiming a 96-87 victory.

Carlos Boozer finished with a season-high 35 points and rookie Wesley Matthews added 18 as Utah won its fourth straight game.

"We came out guns blazing -- a lot of energy, having fun," Boozer said. "We got a huge lead but they are a good team -- an NBA team. They came back and made us fight for the win, but that's what we did. We did a good job of fighting for the win."

Memo Okur added 13 points and Deron Williams finished with an 11-point, 13-assist double-double as the Jazz beat the Pacers for the sixth time in the teams' last seven meetings.

Danny Granger led Indiana with 26 points, but he missed 12 of his 19 field-goal attempts. He was 3-for-8 in the decisive fourth quarter.

"We had an excellent first quarter," coach Jerry Sloan said. "But I've seen that happen a few times. You get out and think the game's going to be easy and the team you're playing comes right back."

Sloan praised the Pacers' tenacity.

"They played real hard," he said. "They stayed after us the whole time. Then you have to grind it out, and you don't always win those games because you get too relaxed and can't turn it back on."

Utah put the Pacers it a deep, deep hole in the opening eight minutes.

Boozer scored 10 points and the Jazz defense held Indiana scoreless on 12 straight possessions as Utah built a 22-3 lead.

"We did it on the defensive end," Ronnie Brewer said. "We got stops and we executed our offense. We played really well -- with a lot of intensity -- to start the game off.

Thanks to six points by Matthews in the final 36.8 seconds of the second quarter, Utah maintained a 57-44 lead at halftime. It was 68-51 early in the third quarter when the Pacers, who shot 39 percent for the game, finally started to warm up.

"Unfortunately, we started missing a few shots and they hit some threes and got back in the game," Brewer said. "They got their confidence going and got back in the game and, once you do that, it's going to be a fight to the end."

It was.

Consecutive three-pointers by Brandon Rush and Granger cut Utah's lead to 82-78 with 81/2 minutes remaining.

"They got after us defensively," Sloan said, "and made us struggle."

Just in time to satisfy a late-arriving crowd of 19,347, however, the Jazz snapped back to life.

Led by Matthews' effort against Granger, Utah held the Pacers to one field goal over the next 51/2 minutes.

Meanwhile, Boozer scored nine points down the stretch, including a jumper that made it 88-80 with 3:43 remaining and iced the hard-fought victory.

"Booz is playing phenomenal Basketball right now," Brewer said. "And when he plays like that, I think everybody feeds off him." Storylines

IN SHORT ? Carlos Boozer scores a season-high 35 points and finishes with his 12th double-double in 18 games as Utah edges Indiana.

KEY MOMENT ? After the Pacers trim a 19-point lead to 82-78 in the fourth quarter, the Jazz stop them on four straight possessions. Jazz at Minnesota

Today, 6 p.m.

TV ? FSN Utah

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Author: Fox Sports
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Added: December 6, 2009


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