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Last-second defensive stand leaves Jazz unbeaten

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Scoring eight of his 23 points in the
final quarter wasn't quite enough for Mehmet Okur to lead the Utah
Jazz past the Detroit Pistons. He needed to make the biggest
defensive play of the season, too.

Utah is one of two franchises that hasn't lost to the Pistons in two seasons (the Wizards swept Detroit 3-0; their first meeting this season is Nov. 17). The Jazz have now won three straight over Detroit following Monday's 103-101 victory. Head-to-head over that stretch:

 

Pistons

Jazz

Wins

0

3

PPG

89.7

96.3

FG Pct.

37.5

45.4

3-pt. FG pct.

31.8

43.3

Okur blocked Richard Hamilton's layup in the final second and
the unbeaten Jazz held off the Pistons 103-101 Monday night, giving
Okur another win against his former team.

Hamilton got past Utah's Andrei Kirilenko and drove for a layup
that would have tied it, but Okur saved the Jazz from having to go
to overtime by getting across in time to block the shot.

"I was already in the defense and he drove inside," Okur said.
"Me and Andrei, we had a piece of the ball so that's a good win
for us."

Kirilenko didn't get to the ball until after the buzzer, so the
block in the final box score went to Okur.

Carlos Boozer of the Jazz had his fourth double-double of the
season with 20 points and 11 rebounds. Deron Williams scored 14
points, Derek Fisher scored 12 and the two guards each had seven
assists for the Jazz (4-0).

"Great win. Great win," Boozer said. "We're doing a better
job this year of finishing games in the fourth."

Rasheed Wallace finished with 25 points and 12 rebounds to lead
Detroit. Wallace also received his fourth technical of the season
in the second quarter, but managed to keep from being ejected and
helped the Pistons stay in the game.

Wallace was still unhappy, to put it mildly, after the game and
said he got the technical more on his reputation than what he said
after thinking he was fouled when he made a shot that got the
Pistons within 44-42 in the second quarter.

"I was just running down the court and said 'And one,"
Wallace said. "This cat [referee Steve Javie] is looking at me
from the other side of the court and he bangs me up."

Wallace and coach Flip Saunders had a few other adults-only
words in their postgame comments.

Saunders also got a technical for protesting when Wallace
received his, and assistant coach Dave Cowens was called for one
that turned Okur's three-point play into a four-pointer in the
final few minutes.

After Antonio McDyess slammed in an offensive rebound to give
the Pistons a 96-95 lead with about 2:50 left, the Jazz got it
right back. Okur made a layup and drew a foul to put the Jazz ahead
97-96 with 2:36 left in the game, then before he could get to the
line Cowens was called for the technical.

Fisher, who made both shots after Detroit's technicals in the
second quarter, made the free throw, then Okur made his and Utah
led the rest of the game.

Saunders said the game shouldn't have been decided by technical
fouls.

"My comment is that we might as well play 'PlayStation' if we
are going to take the emotion out of it," Saunders said.

Tayshaun Prince got Detroit within 101-100 on a layup, but Okur
answered with two free throws with 33 seconds left. Chauncey
Billups went 1-for-2 from the line a couple of seconds later and
Detroit had a chance when Williams missed a short jumper and
couldn't hang on to the rebound.

The Pistons got the ball ahead to Hamilton, who faked out
Kirilenko and went in for a layup only to have Okur come across and
block it.

"Literally every guy that's playing for us is giving us
something offensively and defensively," Fisher said.

Kirilenko had 11 points, eight rebounds, four assists and two
blocks. Gordan Giricek scored 13 points for Utah.

Flip Murray scored 15 points, 12 in the second quarter, Hamilton
had 14 and Billups finished with 10 points and four assists.

Game notes
The Pistons haven't won in Utah since Nov. 6, 2002. ...
Detroit opened a four-game road trip. ... Boozer had six rebounds
in the first quarter. ... Matt Harpring added nine points for the
Jazz.