Jazz Try to Keep Pace With Nuggets

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

SALT LAKE CITY - (AP) The Utah Jazz are getting used to playing with injuries. Now they need to continue winning in spite of them.

The Jazz rallied from a sluggish start to beat the Charlotte Hornets 105-86 on Monday night, overcoming yet another injury to one of their key players.

Point guard Deron Williams sat out with a contusion above his right knee, joining forwards Carlos Boozer (knee) and Andrei Kirilenko (ankle) on the inactive list.

"We've got to be used to it. We've lost a lot of games due to injury," said Brevin Knight, who had seven assists as he and Ronnie Price stepped in for Williams.

Jazz players have missed 131 games because of injury or illness -- 86 more than all of last season.

Ronnie Brewer scored 14 of his 21 points in the second half and Mehmet Okur scored 22 despite being in foul trouble most of the night. Paul Millsap scored 14 and Price finished with 12 points as four Utah starters scored in double figures.

Matt Harpring added 10 points and Kyle Korver pulled down eight rebounds to lead the Jazz, who after losing six of eight could not afford to get swept by the Bobcats this season.

"You never know what to expect with as many guys as we have out," Utah coach Jerry Sloan said. "We had to have a lot of guys play well in order for us to win."

Raymond Felton had 16 points and nine assists to lead the Bobcats, who lost their third straight and went 1-4 on a five-game road trip. They also had 24 turnovers, leading to 32 points for the Jazz.

"Every effort play they made, we didn't make," Charlotte coach Larry Brown said. "As soon as it got physical, we went the other way."

Emeka Okafor added 15 points and seven rebounds, but scored only three after the first quarter as Charlotte couldn't keep up its starting pace. The Bobcats led by as much as eight in the second quarter, then wilted in the third period while being outscored 27-19.

"That team that was on the court for them, I'm reluctant to say they're a better team than we are, but they beat us tonight and I'll tip my hat to them," said Raja Bell, who scored 12 points for Charlotte. "We didn't show up to play and they took advantage of that."

Brewer scored Utah's first 10 points of the period, starting with a three-point play and finishing with a 3-pointer that put the Jazz up 59-58.

The Jazz went 10-for-17 in the third quarter and outscored the Bobcats 10-2 in the paint, holding Okafor to one point. Okafor was 5-for-5 in the first half, but missed all four of his shots of the period as Charlotte went 6-for-18 from the floor.

Utah continued to pull away in the fourth quarter, outscoring Charlotte 29-16 as Boozer and Williams cheered on from the bench.

"We did things well. We just couldn't get the lead," Knight said. "The second half, the defensive intensity picked up a little bit. We got fast breaks. We did a great job in the third quarter and we just rolled from there."

Jarron Collins, playing in just his 12th game of the season, added six points, including a surprise 20-foot jump shot in the fourth quarter. Collins had just two field goals all season before making three Monday.

"In my role, it's for the most part spot duty. You've got to come in and produce when the opportunity is given to you," said Collins, who has missed 25 games because of injuries this season.

Boris Diaw had 10 points and Juwan Howard scored 12 for the Bobcats.


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