Jazz Increase Lead Over Nuggets

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

INDIANAPOLIS - (AP) The Utah Jazz prefer not to think about their longest winning streak since 1999.

Mehmet Okur's 24 points helped the Jazz beat the Indiana Pacers 112-100 on Tuesday night for their 12th straight victory, moving them one game closer to the franchise record of 15 consecutive set twice during the 1996-97 season.

"Don't jinx us," Utah forward Carlos Boozer said.

Longtime Jazz coach Jerry Sloan wasn't talking about 15, either.

"I don't pay much attention to that," he said. "We'll just try to keep going day by day."

To reach 15 will be a challenge. Utah's next three games are at Atlanta, Miami and Orlando.

"We're going to set our sights high," Boozer said. "The thing about our streak is that we've been able to take it one day at a time. Today, we had to focus on Indiana."

For a few minutes in the fourth quarter, it looked as if the Pacers could snap Utah's winning streak.

T.J. Ford's jumper with 7 minutes left tied the score at 90, but the Jazz answered with a 16-4 run over the next three minutes to pull away.

"They're the hottest team in the league and we just couldn't get the stops coming down the stretch," said Pacers forward Troy Murphy, who finished with 23 points and 13 rebounds. "We had a good shot tonight, but we weren't able to take advantage of it."

Paul Millsap had 22 points and nine rebounds, Ronnie Brewer scored 18 and Deron Williams added 12 assists for the Jazz (41-23), who haven't lost since falling 116-96 at Golden State on Feb. 8.

"We have confidence that we're going to win every game we play, no matter what the scenario might be," said Boozer, who finished with 11 points and seven rebounds. "At the end of the day, we have the pieces, the confidence and the belief in each other that we're going to win the game."

Jarrett Jack and Ford each had 21 points for Indiana (28-38), which continues to battle for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. The Pacers finished with 22 turnovers, resulting in 26 Utah points.

"It's disappointing, mainly because we beat ourselves," Jack said. "We really killed ourselves in the turnover department."

Despite committing 14 turnovers in the first half and trailing by as many as 12 points, the Pacers managed to stay within 54-48 at the intermission. Murphy had 21 points in the opening half and hit seven 3-pointers to tie a Pacers home record.

"They were losing me a little bit in transition and T.J. and Jarrett were able to find me and get me open for some 3s," Murphy said. "It's probably one of my better nights shooting."

Indiana jumped ahead, 61-58, on Jack's two free throws early in the third quarter, but the Jazz regained a seven-point lead minutes later on Brewer's dunk. Jack's jumper to end the period brought the Pacers within 82-80.

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