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Charlotte at Utah

Okur's 32 points help Jazz blast Bobcats

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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SALT LAKE CITY -- When Mehmet Okur feels like he can't miss, he playfully blows on his fingers as if they're on fire.

Okur must have felt like his hands were burning Monday night as he scored 32 points to lead the Utah Jazz over the Charlotte Bobcats for the first time at home, 120-95.

"Memo was hot all game," said Carlos Boozer, who had 12 points and nine rebounds. "He was a flame-thrower tonight."

In just 31 minutes of play, Okur tied a career high with 13 field goals in 15 attempts, most of them on perimeter jump shots.

"I just felt good out there. My teammates created open shots out there for me. I have confidence in my shots," Okur said.

Reserve Matt Harpring continued his scoring outburst with 19 points and has averaged 16 during Utah's current four-game winning streak.

"All five of us are moving and it's hard to guard a team when all five guys are moving," Harpring said.

Charlotte won in both of its previous visits to Salt Lake City.

Gerald Wallace scored 33 points, but no other Bobcat got more than 12.

"They (Jazz) are one of the best teams at running their offense; they run, they move, they cut, they slash and they have great passers and they've got guys that can make shots," Wallace said.

The best of those shot-makers right now is Okur, who was an injury replacement in the NBA All-Star game this season.

"Memo's unbelievable. He starts to realize he's an all-star and he's really a guy that is carrying the team right now. Memo is a scoring machine, especially in crucial moments," Andrei Kirilenko said.

Late last month, back spasms snapped Okur's streak of 233 consecutive games played. When he returned, his shot was off-target and he made just 13 of 41 field goals in his first three games back.

Following up a 28-point effort in a win against New Orleans on Sunday, Okur made all six of his shots in the third quarter as the Jazz extended their lead to 19 points. "I feel like I am back to normal again," the Turkish center said.

Even when he missed, he made something good happen. Midway through the fourth quarter, Okur missed a wide-open jumper from the right side, but grabbed the rebound and fired a no-look pass to Harpring for a layup and a foul. The resulting free throw gave Utah a 103-83 lead.

"I didn't know if we were going to break down (in the fourth quarter), but Memo got back in the ballgame and really shot the ball well. He got in a rhythm and it looked like everything he put up there was going in the basket," Utah coach Jerry Sloan said.

Gordan Giricek, also in the midst of his highest-scoring stretch of the season, scored 15 points for the Jazz.

The Bobcats, who are in the fifth game of a six-game Western Conference road trip, are mired in a six-game losing streak. Without injured power forward Emeka Okafor, the Bobcats are 0-5 and giving up an average of 116 points a game. Charlotte has lost nine of its last 10 games.

The Bobcats' defense missed Okafor as the Jazz ran their trademark precision plays and shot 56 percent while accumulating 29 assists.

"The main thing with the Jazz is that they never stop moving. It's hard to help when your guy's always cutting and slashing. I think they did a great job at executing; they got the ball to the guys that were making shots," Wallace said.

Wallace scored almost at will, but the rest of the team shot 21-of-54. The Bobcats led by five in the opening moments, but Okur fed Kirilenko for a layup that capped a 10-1 Utah run and the Jazz never trailed again.

Raymond Felton had 12 points and Walter Herrmann added 10 for Charlotte. The Jazz, who have won five of six and 12 of 14 overall, also outrebounded the Bobcats 48-21.

"They muscled us around inside. When you play Utah, you know what kind of basketball team they are. They are fundamentally very sound. They execute and they know where the links are," Charlotte coach Bernie Bickerstaff said.

Notes

  • Although Okafor will miss at least the next two games, an MRI exam revealed he will not need surgery as originally feared.
  • The Jazz lost 101-89 in Charlotte on Dec. 22 when Matt Carroll scored all 16 of his points in the fourth quarter.
  • Utah has won its last four games by an average of 20.3 points.
  • The Jazz outscored the Bobcats in every quarter and improved to 31-3 when leading after three quarters.
  • Charlotte assistant coach John-Blair Bickerstaff got a technical foul in the fourth quarter that was initially given to his perplexed father, head coach Bernie Bickerstaff.
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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Andrei Kirilenko ... meet Derek Anderson's elbow. AK-47 unloads seven points, eight boards in the win.  (AP)
Andrei Kirilenko ... meet Derek Anderson's elbow. AK-47 unloads seven points, eight boards in the win. (AP)

Scoreboard
Charlotte (22-39) 2523222595
Utah (41-19) «32262834120
CHA:G. Wallace 33 Pts
CHA:J. Voskuhl 5 Reb
CHA:J. McInnis 5 Ast
UTA:M. Okur 32 Pts
UTA:M. Okur 9 Reb
UTA:D. Williams 6 Ast
Players of the Game
UtahCharlotte

M. Okur

G. Wallace
PtsRebsAstPtsRebsAst
32933342
Charlotte
G. Wallace, SF3213-197-842433
R. Felton, PG293-104-533112
D. Anderson, SG222-50-14114
M. Carroll, SG211-63-31125
P. Brezec, C92-20-01034
J. Voskuhl, C293-50-05136
A. Morrison, SG262-91-11136
B. Knight, PG231-53-40265
J. McInnis, PG191-40-00512
W. Herrmann, SF143-42-200210
R. Hollins, C101-12-51024
E. Williams, PF82-30-01024
O. Harrington, PFDid Not Play
E. Okafor, CDid Not Play
S. May, FDid Not Play
Totals 34-7322-2921163095
 46.6%75.9% 
Utah
D. Williams, PG322-68-956212
M. Okur, C3113-155-793332
D. Fisher, PG292-72-23336
A. Kirilenko, SF282-53-48347
C. Boozer, PF276-90-291212
G. Giricek, SG293-49-922315
M. Harpring, SF257-105-723119
J. Collins, C153-62-35218
P. Millsap, PF130-42-24132
D. Brown, PG60-31-20401
R. Araujo, C31-20-01112
C. Miles, SF32-20-00014
R. Brewer, SGDid Not Play
Totals 41-7337-47482924120
 56.2%78.7% 
Other Games
Hou 85 Final
Cle 91
Mil 81 Final
Orl 99
GS 111 Final
Det 93
Atl 81 Final
Mia 88
SA 88 Final
LAC 74