Jazz start slowly, pick up tempo to beat Hornets

Jazz start slowly, pick up tempo to beat Hornets

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By JEFF LATZKE AP Sports Writer

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- Mehmet Okur scored 28 points, Deron Williams added 20 and the Utah Jazz heated up in the second half to cruise to a 108-94 win against the New Orleans Hornets on Sunday night.

It was the fourth straight road win for the Jazz, equaling their longest streak away from home this season. Utah has won eight of its last 10 road games after starting the season 10-10 outside Salt Lake City.

Carlos Boozer picked up his 36th double-double with 17 points and 12 rebounds, and Gordan Giricek scored 13 in his first game since going for a season-high 20 against Minnesota on Friday.

Tyson Chandler had a season-high 20 points and 17 rebounds to notch his 12th consecutive double-double for New Orleans, which has lost three of its last four games. Six Hornets players scored in double figures, including Desmond Mason with 17 and Chris Paul with 14 points and 13 assists.

After a slow start, the Jazz made 20-of-32 shots (62.5 percent) in the second half, when they scored 62 points -- one shy of the most given up by the Hornets in a half this season.

Williams hit 3-pointers to start and finish a 13-5 run that gave Utah a 62-46 lead with 6:22 remaining in the third quarter. Boozer added a three-point play during the run, and the other four points came from the foul line as the Jazz got the Hornets into the bonus early.

The lead reached as many as 17 before New Orleans came back with a 10-2 run that featured five points from Paul to get within 70-62. Bobby Jackson's 3-pointer to start the fourth quarter moved the Hornets within 77-71, but Utah scored nine of the next 10 points and Okur drilled a 26-foot 3-pointer to make it 86-72.

The Hornets were never closer than 12 after that.

Utah had a 47-37 rebounding advantage and overcame a 56-32 scoring deficit in the paint.

New Orleans opened a 15-5 lead on back-to-back two-handed jams by Chandler, then missed its next 11 shots to allow Utah to tie the game before Chandler broke the drought with yet another dunk.

Utah claimed the lead for good with a 9-0 run in the second quarter, capped by seven straight points from Okur. His two-handed dunk on a fast break put the Jazz up 40-31.

Utah led 44-37 at halftime.

Notes:@ The Jazz have overcome a 10-point deficit in a victory an NBA-high 14 times this season. ... Hornets F Rasual Butler, shooting only 32 percent (47-for-147) in his last 20 games, sat out for the first time in 60 games this season. ... Former Oklahoma defensive tackles Tommie Harris and Dusty Dvoracek, both with the NFC champion Chicago Bears, attended the game. ... After holding opponents to 43.9 percent shooting before the All-Star game, the Hornets allowed their first six opponents to shoot 50 percent and average 101.5 points. "We're just not defending like we did prior to the All-Star weekend. We've come back and we've gotten softer defensively," coach Byron Scott said. "At times we get up and pressure, but we can't seem to sustain it."

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.) APTV-03-04-07 2101MST

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