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Jazz blow late 14-point lead, but beat Bobcats in OT

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- Mehmet Okur has gone from role player to go-to guy for the Utah Jazz.

Okur scored seven of his career-high 31 points in overtime as Utah beat the Charlotte Bobcats 95-91 on Monday night.

Andrei Kirilenko added 20 points and eight rebounds for the Jazz, who recovered after blowing a 14-point third-quarter lead.

Primoz Brezec, Sean May and Jumaine Jones scored 13 points and Emeka Okafor added 12 points and 11 rebounds for the Bobcats, who were trying to win three in a row for the first time in franchise history.

Okur hit back-to-back jumpers to put the Jazz ahead for good 92-89. He was 11-of-17 and grabbed seven rebounds.

Okur, who averaged 12.9 points last season, has scored 23 or more points in three of Utah's first four games and is also the team's top rebounder.

"He came to camp in great shape, didn't miss a practice," Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said. "He learned something from a year ago when he wasn't in good shape. Last year he got tired."

The Bobcats, who rallied from a 12-point fourth-quarter deficit to beat Boston on Saturday, came back against the Jazz behind rookies May and Raymond Felton.

May's 13-foot jumper with 3:08 left cut the deficit to 81-80. On the next possession, Felton stole the ball from Utah rookie Deron Williams -- in their first head-to-head matchup since last season's NCAA championship game -- leading to Brevin Knight's jumper that gave Charlotte its first lead at 82-81 with 2:37 left.

Tied at 85, the Jazz committed their 24th turnover, an over-and-back violation, to give the Bobcats the ball with 14 seconds left. But Knight missed a runner at the buzzer to send Charlotte to its third overtime in four games.

"We did a good job of battling back again, we just didn't make enough shots to win it in overtime," Knight said.

It's only the third time in NBA history a team has opened the season with three OT games in its first four games and the first since the Lakers in 1991.

Charlotte leading scorer Gerald Wallace did not play in the second half after getting hit in the head on a drive to the basket in the second quarter. Guard Kareem Rush was scoreless in 12 minutes as he continues to be bothered by a sore thumb.

Bobcats coach Bernie Bickerstaff paired Knight and Felton in the backcourt for most of the final 17 minutes because of the injuries.

"We were searching," Bickerstaff said. "They say a drowning man will grab a razor blade. That group gave us some energy and got us back into the game."

Leading 44-43 early in the third quarter, the Jazz went on a 12-2 run. Kirilenko's shot in the paint made it 56-45 with 5:43 left. Utah twice built the lead to 14.

"We gave up 23 points off 24 turnovers and shot [57 percent] from the foul line. It's very difficult to win that way," Sloan said. "You have to feel lucky to come away with a win."

Game notes
Jazz forward Carlos Boozer received treatment on his strained left hamstring before the game but is still not ready to return. ... Sloan was impressed with Charlotte's new arena, although he complained how cold it was for the morning shootaround. The arena hosted a hockey game Sunday and the ice remained under the floor. ... Upset with a foul call in the fourth quarter, Knight pleaded with referee Robbie Robinson to watch the replay on the arena's large scoreboard. Robinson kept his head down. ... After a sellout crowd of 19,026 for the home opener, the Bobcats drew 14,872.

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