BOSTON (AP) -- Playing well in November is nothing new to the
Utah Jazz. This time, they are hoping to sustain their success.
Mehmet Okur added 23 points for the Jazz, who snapped a
four-game losing streak to the Celtics. Utah was swept by Boston
the past two seasons by an average of 11.8 points and last beat the
Celtics on Dec. 19, 2003.
The Jazz won their first four games before a 98-89 loss at New
Jersey on Wednesday. Utah (5-1) started 6-1 in 2004-05, but ended
up 26-56 after Boozer and Andrei Kirilenko missed chunks of the
season with injuries.
So far this year, Utah's core of Boozer, Williams, Okur and
Kirilenko has been healthy, and the Jazz have the best record in
the NBA because of it.
"Knock on wood, we don't have any major injuries," Boozer
said. "We're a deeper team than I've ever had since I've had here.
We're all young, but some of us are coming into our primes right
now. We're excited for the ride we're on right now."
The Jazz, who averaged 92.4 points last season, shot 53 percent
from the field to score at least 100 points for the fifth time in
six games. Utah didn't score 100 until the 12th game last year.
Paul Pierce scored 30 points and reserve Rajon Rondo had 13
points for the Celtics, who are 1-4 for the first time since
1997-98. Point guard Sebastian Telfair left in the first quarter
with shortness of the breath and was taken to the hospital for
further evaluation. He was diagnosed with bronchospasm and is
expected to travel with the team to Cleveland on Saturday, Celtics
spokesman Jeff Twiss said.
After Pierce's 3-pointer tied it at 56 early in the third
quarter, Okur and Kirilenko combined for 11 points to spark a 15-0
Utah spurt that gave the Jazz the lead for good.
"We just got hot at the right time," Williams said. "Our
offense was clicking. We ran some good plays, executed, and the
ball was going in the basket."
Following Williams' jumper, Okur hit back-to-back 3-pointers.
Kirilenko then closed out the run by blocking Ryan Gomes' layup,
hitting a 3-pointer on the other end and making a layup to make it
71-56 with 6:48 remaining in the quarter.
Boston chipped away at the lead and pulled to within 101-98 with
1:19 left, but Williams made three free throws in the closing
minute to close out the win.
"At the end of the quarter, they came out aggressive and we
came out flat," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. "There's no excuse
for that. We got back in it with going extremely small and speeding
the game up. We had ample times down the stretch, but they had a
couple big turnovers."
Kirilenko scored nine points and blocked five shots.
Boston led by as much as seven late in the first quarter, but
Utah went on a 10-0 spurt spanning the first and second quarters.
Williams made all four of his shot attempts in the second period to
help Utah outscore Boston 25-17 and take a 52-48 lead.
"This just goes to show you that when you don't play the
defense that you need to play, you dig yourself a hole," Pierce
said. "You put so much pressure on our offense when you don't get
any stops. It's almost a must that we come down and score every
^Notes:@ Utah guard Gordan Giricek missed the game after
returning to Utah on Thursday to get an MRI on his right leg.
Doctors found a spot on his Achilles' tendon, and Giricek is
expected to at least miss Saturday's game in Milwaukee. ... For the
first time this season, the Celtics used the same starting lineup
in consecutive games. ... After failing to score in consecutive
games, Jazz guard C.J. Miles had just two points in 18 minutes.