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Okur goes on late run to drive Jazz past Clippers

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Mehmet Okur missed his first five shots
from 3-point range and wasn't bothered a bit.

Okur scored 24 points, including eight in the final two minutes,
to lead the Jazz to a 102-92 victory over the Clippers on Tuesday
night. He didn't hesitate after his early struggles, making two
late 3-pointers.

"I don't give up. I stay focused," Okur said. "I have
confidence in my shot and so do my teammates. They did a great job
and found open shots for me."

The Clippers knew it was coming but couldn't stop it.

"Okur's been terrific shooting the 3-pointer," coach Mike
Dunleavy said. "To be able to stretch the defense at his size is a
great advantage for any team. To shoot it at 40 percent-plus and
come up at big times and make those shots, they're just daggers."

Deron Williams added 21 points in Utah's first game back home
after going 3-2 on a five-game Eastern Conference road trip before
Christmas. Carlos Boozer had 26 points and 10 rebounds for his
league-leading 22nd double-double.

"We could have kept floundering around and let this game get
away, but we just kept playing," Derek Fisher said. "The first
game after a road trip is always a tough game to play."

After Corey Maggette made a pair of free throws to cut the lead
to 87-84 with 2:53 to play, Gordan Giricek and Okur hit
back-to-back 3-pointers.

Maggette, who had 19 points for the Clippers, made a driving
basket, but Utah answered with Boozer's tip-in and another
3-pointer by Okur.

"We just try to create for everybody, but I was open at right
place, right time. I was open and I just hit the shots," said
Okur, who has come through from behind the arc late in games on a
number of occasions this season.

Elton Brand scored 21 points for the Clippers, who fell to 1-30
at the EnergySolutions Arena, formerly the Delta Center. The
Clippers' only win here was 96-89 on Jan. 22, 2003.

"The Clippers came at us all night long," Jazz coach Jerry
Sloan said. "We knew it was going to be a dogfight but you have to
give them credit, they stuck right with us tonight."

Andrei Kirilenko left the game with 5:51 in the second quarter
due to a mild concussion and did not return. The Jazz forward, who
lost part of a tooth in last week's game at Charlotte, took a
shoulder to the head on Maggette's drive to the basket.

Both teams missed key reserves. Utah's Matt Harpring was out
with a stomach virus and Los Angeles was without Sam Cassell
because of foot problems.

When Kirilenko went down, the Jazz were forced to go with a
three-guard lineup for most of the second half. The switch seemed
to hurt Utah's trademark precision until the last four minutes of
the contest, when movement without the ball and crisp passes off
drives to the lane led to 17 points in the game-ending stretch.

Giricek, who has played sparingly this season, made sure the
Jazz didn't miss Kirilenko.

"Giricek did a great job. He had to play the three ... and he
stayed within the offense, took good shots and made some big
shots," Sloan said.

Added Giricek: "It was good to finally finish a game. I haven't
finished a game in probably three years."

Okur, who had 11 rebounds, tipped in a miss with 7:39 left to
make it 81-71 for Utah. The Clippers stormed back with nine
consecutive points to cut the lead to one after another of
Maggette's driving shots.

Utah, which had won the first two meetings by an average of 20.5
points, outrebounded the Clippers 44-36. The league's best
offensive rebounding team had 14 second-chance points.

Many of the Clippers also thought the Jazz got an assist from
the officials.

"Look at their guys, who are physical guys, how many fouls they
get called for. I'm really impressed with their technique. I'm
going to study the film so I can get our guys to copy it,"
Dunleavy said sarcastically.

The Clippers were whistled for 28 fouls to Utah's 20.

Boozer scored 18 points in the first half and sparked the Jazz
to a 50-43 lead. The Jazz led the rest of the game.

"We had a long road trip so to come home and get this home
cooking and have the fans go crazy for us and get a big win here,
it sets the tone for the rest of the week," Boozer said.

Game notes
Dunleavy was assessed a technical foul with 5:44 left in
the third quarter. ... The Clippers have lost seven of eight, with
the lone win coming against Houston, which was missing Tracy
McGrady and lost Yao Ming. ... The Jazz, who made 46.8 of their
field goals, improved to 8-8 when shooting less than 50 percent.
They are 11-0 at home when they score at least 100 points.