NBA

Wed, Feb 25, 2009 - 8:00 PM ET
Game Recap
 

Jazz pull away from Wolves, win sixth straight

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MINNEAPOLIS (AP)

Beset by injuries since the season tipped off, the Utah Jazz did their best to stay within striking distance in the Western Conference. Now that they're finally healing up, Carlos Boozer and Co. seem poised to make their move. Ronnie Brewer scored 16 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter and Boozer showed signs of his old self in Utah's 120-103 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday night. In his second game back after missing the previous 44 with a knee injury, Boozer had 12 points on 6-for-10 shooting in 21 minutes. Mehmet Okur scored 25 for the Jazz, who extended their winning streak to a season-long six games. "I feel a lot better, more comfortable," Boozer said. "But the biggest thing to me was getting a win. ... The more I'm out there the more loose it gets and the more comfortable I get, just need to chip off the rust a little bit." Kevin Love had career highs with 24 points and 15 rebounds and Ryan Gomes added 24 points and eight boards for the Wolves, who have lost seven in a row at home. The Jazz played just their second game all season with Boozer, point guard Deron Williams and Okur in the lineup at the same time. They wrapped up a perfect five-game homestand with a win over Atlanta on Monday night in an impressive stretch that included victories over heavyweights New Orleans, Boston and the Lakers. They have won 10 of their last 12 and started the day just three games behind Denver in the Northwest Division, but the real test comes in March with eight of the first 12 games away from home. "Teams in front of us have been losing so we need to get these games," said Williams, who had 13 points and 13 assists. Both teams shot over 50 percent from the field for much of the game despite the struggles of Minnesota's Randy Foye and Utah's Williams, who combined to miss 16 of their first 20 shots. Despite Foye's difficulties, all five Wolves starters were in double figures. Gomes topped 20 points for the fifth game in a row, the best stretch of scoring in the fourth-year pro's career. His two free throws pulled the Wolves within one point early in the fourth quarter, but Brewer had two three-point plays and the Jazz ripped off a 10-0 run late to put the game away. The Timberwolves are 18-39 and reeling without star center Al Jefferson, who is out for the season with a knee injury. Coach Kevin McHale has installed a more up-tempo offense without Jefferson, but it has taken a toll on the team's defensive performance. The Jazz shot 53 percent and scored 37 points in the fourth quarter to overcome a 12-point deficit in the first. "We just have got to get better defensively," said McHale, whose Wolves fell to 1-6 since Jefferson went down. But it was still an important victory for the Jazz, who have been dreadful on the road this season. Utah had lost 10 of its last 12 on the road, with the only victories in that span over Sacramento and Memphis, and at 9-17 had one fewer road victory than the struggling Wolves this season. "The biggest thing is we won on the road," said Boozer, whose Jazz lost longtime owner Larry Miller to complications from diabetes last week. "We can take that home, get ready for honoring Larry this weekend, which will be the most important thing we do." Notes: Reserve Matt Harpring missed the game with a bruised back. He said he expects to be back on Saturday against Sacramento. ... McHale said Jefferson is back in town after having surgery in New York on his right knee. Jefferson will be in a brace and on crutches for about three or four more weeks. ... At halftime, as part of a promotion with Topps trading cards, 70-year-old Gary Proctor of Stone Mountain, Ga., had a halfcourt shot for $1 million. He tried a reverse granny shot, with his back to the basket and flinging the ball over his head. The shot was on line but well short. ... The sparse crowd was treated to a rousing rendition of the "Star Spangled Banner" by 8-year-old Julius Andrews. All 3 1/2 feet of him.
Tagged: Timberwolves, Jazz

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