Boozer's 41 points, 16 boards lifts Jazz over Wizards

Boozer's 41 points, 16 boards lifts Jazz over Wizards

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SALT LAKE CITY -- Carlos Boozer had a Karl Malone-type of night.

Boozer, Utah's current All-Star power forward, played like its former NBA great Monday night, scoring a career-high 41 points with 16 rebounds to help the Jazz rally to a 103-97 victory over the Washington Wizards on Monday night.

Boozer scored 16 in the fourth quarter.

"I picked up my energy and my focus. I started being more aggressive, taking it to the hoop," Boozer said. "For me, I was just in a zone."

Boozer, who scored 39 points in an overtime loss to Memphis on Jan. 24 for his previous career high, made two free throws to clinch Utah's sixth straight home win. The last time a Jazz player scored 41 points was Malone on Dec. 20, 2000 against Philadelphia.

"Boozer came alive in second half. He took over the game for us. He had just an awesome night," said Deron Williams, who had 16 points and 13 assists.

The Jazz clinched a playoff berth on Sunday for the first time since Malone and John Stockton played for the team in 2002-03.

"I haven't seen a performance like that in a long time. He was rebounding, defending, and obviously he scored points," Derek Fisher said of Boozer.

Gilbert Arenas scored 26 of his 32 points in the second half for the Wizards, who finished 1-4 in an exhausting five-games-in-seven-nights stretch.

"We played hard, and it wasn't enough. We've played good teams, and we've played teams that are fighting, and we came up short in all of them," Arenas said.

The Jazz have won an NBA-high 16 games after trailing by 10 or more points.

Fisher hit a 3-pointer with 44.2 seconds remaining to put Utah up 99-95. Antawn Jamison made a couple of free throws and then Fisher missed his third technical foul shot of the game. But Fisher made the next two free throws on the foul on Etan Thomas.

"Well, that was huge. I felt a little uneasy because he'd had a tough time making free throws, but I knew he's been around long enough to know that's not going to bother him," Utah coach Jerry Sloan said.

During the trip, the Wizards have consistently had second-half lapses after leading in the first half of each game. The Wizards led by as many as 11 just after halftime, Utah cut it to 71-70 entering the final period.

Washington coach Eddie Jordan was ejected after receiving two technical fouls for arguing a noncall during a timeout with 3:54 left in the third quarter.

"I went to have a discussion with one of the officials and before I knew it the other official tossed me. I thought that was unwarranted," Jordan said.

Fisher missed both free throws, but the incident seemed to energize the Jazz, who went on an 8-1 run to catch the Wizards at 64.

Boozer scored all eight points.

In the fourth quarter, the Wizards took an 81-75 lead on Arenas' alley-oop layup, but then went 6 minutes without a field goal. On the other end, Boozer scored 11 points in a 17-8 run that gave the Jazz the lead for good.

Mehmet Okur also scored 16 points for Utah. The Jazz are 12-1 in their last 13 home games and 28-7 overall.

Matt Harpring made just one field goal, a layup off a pass from the double-teamed Boozer with 1:46 left, but had a season-high 13 rebounds as the Jazz outrebounded the Wizards 50-40.

"Carlos Boozer was just unstoppable. He makes one of the plays of the night where hits Harpring on a backcut and that was probably one of the difference-makers," Jordan said.

Arenas, who made 14-of-17 free throws, fouled out for the first time this season when he pushed Williams in an effort to get off a 3-pointer in the final minute.

Jamison scored 20 points for the Wizards, who stayed close by making 13-of-19 free throws in the final quarter. In all, 63 fouls were called on the two teams.

But Boozer seemed make all the plays when it mattered.

"He was our answer. He made almost every shot he took," Williams said of Boozer's 15-of-21 shooting performance.

This was the last regular season game the Wizards (14-16 against the West) will play against Western Conference opponents. The Jazz finished their Eastern Conference schedule 19-11.

The Wizards had won two in a row and four of five overall in the series.

Carlos Boozer is only the second player in the NBA this season with at least 40 points and 15 rebounds in a game. Amare Stoudemire did it on Feb. 25 (43 points, 16 rebounds). Karl Malone and Truck Robinson are the only other players in Utah franchise history to have a 40/15 game. Malone did it nine times for the Jazz while Robinson did it in November 1978 while the team was still in New Orleans.

Game notes The game wrapped up interconference play for both teams. The Jazz were 19-11 against the East, and the Wizards 14-16 against the West. ... Washington forward Andray Blatch, who started the last 13 games, sprained his left knee in the third quarter Saturday night and missed the game. ... The NBA warned Arenas on Sunday not to repeat his actions of Tuesday night, when he said he made $10 bets with a group of fans during the game against the Portland Trail Blazers. ... The Jazz clinched a playoff berth Sunday night when Golden State lost to the Lakers.

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