Regular Season Series (Game 1 of 4)

Series starts 2/22

Game 1: Wednesday, February 22nd
Game 2: Saturday, February 25th
Game 3: Monday, March 27th
Game 4: Friday, April 14th

Jazz 82

(26-28, 13-15 away)

Hornets 76

(29-25, 19-9 home)

    Coverage: FSRM

    7:00 PM ET, February 22, 2006

    Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City, OK

    1 2 3 4 T
    UTAH 12 23 22 2582
    NO 23 18 24 1176

    Top Performers

    UTAH: A. Kirilenko 15 Pts, 11 Reb, 2 Ast, 1 Stl, 8 Blk

    NO: C. Paul 18 Pts, 2 Reb, 7 Ast, 7 Stl, 1 Blk

    Jazz rally to defeat injury-depleted Hornets

    OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- With injuries piling up for the New Orleans Hornets, Deron Williams propelled the Utah Jazz ahead for a much-needed victory.

    Williams scored eight of his 17 points in the fourth quarter and Andrei Kirilenko had 15 points, 11 rebounds and eight blocks to help the Jazz rally for an 82-76 win against the Hornets on Wednesday night.

    The Jazz entered the game on a three-game losing streak, two games behind the Los Angeles Lakers for the final Western Conference playoff spot and four games behind seventh-place New Orleans, which comes to Salt Lake City on Saturday to complete a home-and-home series.

    "We needed this one bad," Williams said. "We need these next two really. We're on the outside looking in right now. We've got 28 games left. We've got to make a run. Getting these two right here definitely helps our case."

    The Hornets made only one of their first 16 shots in the fourth quarter as the Jazz reeled off a 22-6 run to claim the lead. Williams, a rookie, had eight points during the run, including a 3-pointer and two long jumpers.

    "I've always been impressed with what he's able to do," Utah coach Jerry Sloan said. "He's just gone through some tough times. Some players do and some players don't. I think those tough times are good for him."

    Carlos Boozer and Devin Brown added 14 points apiece for the Jazz.

    Already playing without leading scorer David West (personal reasons) and top reserve Speedy Claxton (ankle), the Hornets lost two more players to injuries in the third quarter. Starting forward Desmond Mason bruised his tailbone and Jackson Vroman, who started in place of West, broke his right wrist as he fell to the floor following a two-handed dunk.

    The Hornets told ESPN Vroman is expected to be out through the end of the regular season.

    Neither returned, and the Hornets' lead soon evaporated.

    Utah cut a 12-point deficit to 65-57 by the end of the third quarter.

    Brown and Williams scored Utah's first 12 points of the fourth quarter before Matt Harpring put the Jazz ahead for the first time on a three-point play that made it 72-71 with 6:38 left.

    The Jazz hit three free throws and extended the lead to eight following baskets by Boozer and Brown before the Hornets finally broke a scoring drought of more than 6 minutes.

    Bostjan Nachbar hit a 3-pointer from the left wing to get New Orleans within 81-76 in the final minute, but the Hornets couldn't draw any closer.

    Chris Paul finished with 18 points and set a Hornets rookie record with seven steals. Mason added 14 points before leaving with the injury, and Nachbar scored 11.

    "I missed games and we won. Other guys have missed games and we won. I think when we're missing guys like that, we all have just got to step it up a little bit," Paul said.

    West, who leads New Orleans with 16.8 points and 7.8 rebounds, missed his second straight game to be with his wife and newborn child. He was on the active list, but did not arrive at the Ford Center. The Hornets lost 97-75 to Indiana on Monday in his first game away.

    "We're just trying to adjust to not having him out there," Paul said.

    He and Claxton, the Hornets' third-leading scorer with 12.6-point average, are both expected to return in time to face the Jazz on Saturday.

    "I'm sure it will be a lot different, but we've just got to do the same thing as tonight," Williams said. "We've just got to keep fighting. We got down in the fourth quarter, then fought back and won."

    Utah missed 13 of 16 shots in the first quarter and fell behind 23-12. The Jazz then whittled away at the lead to get within six at halftime. Kirilenko's fast-break layup early in the third quarter made it 47-42, but the Hornets responded with a 13-6 run capped by a three-point play by Kirk Snyder and two free throws from Paul with 3:23 left in the third quarter.

    Game notes

    Utah guard Andre Owens will miss the rest of the season after having surgery to replace a rod in his leg. ... New Orleans resident Charles J. Southall III and his wife, Lila, watched the game from courtside as part of an arrangement through ABC's "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" television show. The show is rebuilding the First Emanuel Baptist Church, where Southall is pastor. The church sustained more than $500,000 in damage in Hurricane Katrina. "My wife and I used to do date night at the Hornets games since they'd been in New Orleans," said Southall, who had season tickets in New Orleans. "That was the way we'd spend time together."

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 82 76
    FGM-FGA 29-73 (.397) 25-70 (.357)
    3PM-3PA 3-8 (.375) 3-13 (.231)
    FTM-FTA 21-30 (.700) 23-26 (.885)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 10-48 8-42
    Assists 15 12
    Turnovers 16 18
    Steals 8 11
    Blocks 9 6
    Fast Break Points 10 10
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 24 (0/0) 28 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 8 12

    Top Performers

    No/oklahoma City
    Andrei Kirilenko Kirilenko
    Points: 15
    Reb: 11
    Ast: 2
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 8
    Chris Paul Paul
    Points: 18
    Reb: 2
    Ast: 7
    Stl: 7
    Blk: 1