Final

Regular Season Series (Game 1 of 2)

Series starts 2/1

Game 1: Friday, February 1st
Jazz96Final
Wizards87
Game 2: Monday, March 31st
Wizards87Final
Jazz129

Jazz 96

(29-18, 9-15 away)

Wizards 87

(24-21, 15-9 home)

    Coverage: ESPN/WatchESPN

    8:00 PM ET, February 1, 2008

    Verizon Center, Washington, DC

    1 2 3 4 T
    UTAH 11 27 29 2996
    WSH 21 18 27 2187

    Top Performers

    Utah: M. Okur 27 Pts, 11 Reb, 5 Ast, 1 Stl

    Washington: A. Jamison 31 Pts, 8 Reb, 1 Stl, 1 Blk

    Okur's double-double helps Jazz stop Wizards

    WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Jazz didn't play like the hottest team in the NBA in the first quarter. The slow start didn't stop Utah from winning its seventh straight game.

    Mehmet Okur had 27 points and 11 rebounds as Utah beat the Washington Wizards 96-87 Friday night to extend the NBA's longest current winning streak.

    After digging out of a first-quarter hole, Utah used an aggressive defense and efficient offense to wear down Washington and pull away in the fourth for its 11th win in 12 games.

    "Everybody is really feeling good now," Okur said. "It's fun. We're really enjoying it."

    The Wizards certainly didn't enjoy it. Once Washington fell behind in the fourth quarter, the short-handed Wizards, playing without one of their All-Stars, could do little to stop the Jazz.

    "Basically, they play textbook basketball: Screens and get open, if somebody has a better look than you do, they get the basketball," Washington guard Antonio Daniels said. "The thing about it is you know what to expect and you know what they're going to do, but it's very, very difficult to stop."

    Deron Williams proved the toughest to stop in the fourth quarter. The guard scored nine points in the final quarter and finished with 11 points and 12 assists for his sixth-straight double-double.

    "I struggled in the first half. I got in foul trouble which kind of took my aggressive mentality away," Williams said. "So I made a point to come out in the fourth and shoot the ball."

    Antawn Jamison scored 31 points for Washington in his first game since being picked to the All-Star team. Forward Caron Butler also earned an All-Star spot. Butler, however, missed his third straight game with a hip injury.

    Jamison played like an All-Star, with his sixth 30-point game of the season, but it wasn't enough for the Wizards. The loss ended a five-game home winning streak.

    "At both ends, you had to claw and scratch tonight," Jamison said. "Guys were physical and playing hard. They didn't want you to get any kind of open opportunities."

    Andray Blatche, inserted into the starting lineup in place of Butler, had 17 points and 13 rebounds. Daniels had 18 points, 13 in the second half, for the Wizards.

    Utah was anything but textbook early. The most accurate shooting team in the NBA, Utah shot 23.8 percent and turned the ball over nine times. Washington built a 21-11 first-quarter lead, with Jamison scoring Washington's final 13 points of the quarter.

    "The Wizards had us out of sync with their different defenses," Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said.

    The troubles didn't stop there for the Jazz. The team's leading scorer, All-Star Carlos Boozer, missed his first eight shots and finished with a season-low four points.

    "It's a team sport, that's what's great about it," Boozer said. "When you're not playing well, somebody's always going to be able to pick you up. This isn't tennis."

    Utah closed the gap in the second quarter. Utah held Washington scoreless for nearly 4 1/2 minutes in the second period, going on a 12-0 run for a 31-27 lead. The teams stayed nearly even until the fourth quarter.

    Utah opened the final quarter with a 3-pointer by Williams, and started to build a lead.

    When Utah's Matt Harpring converted a three-point play with 7:23 left, the 77-71 lead was the Jazz's largest of the game to that point. The play also started a 9-1 run for the Jazz, who took their first double-digit lead, 81-71, with 5 1/2 minutes left.

    "We worked hard for three quarters, and we came up short," Jamison said. "We got them while they were hot, and they did a phenomenal job tonight keeping their composure and working at it."

    Utah's streak is a welcome turnaround from a six-game losing streak the Jazz had in December. The Jazz are hoping this one continues a little longer.

    "Now that we've got a streak, we've got to keep it going," Boozer said.

    Game notes


    Wizards coach Eddie Jordan said Butler is undergoing rehab for his strained left hip flexor. "Hopefully he'll be ready to go on Sunday," Jordan said before Friday's game ... Boozer was held scoreless in the first half. He missed his first eight shots, making his only field goal with 2:12 left in the third quarter. He was 1-for-9 from the field in the game ... Utah had 32 assists on 36 baskets.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

    SPONSORED HEADLINES

    Team Stat Comparison

     
    UTAH
    WSH
    Points 96 87
    FGM-FGA 36-85 (.424) 28-74 (.378)
    3PM-3PA 7-19 (.368) 3-19 (.158)
    FTM-FTA 17-22 (.773) 28-36 (.778)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 12-28 8-21
    Assists 32 12
    Turnovers 15 13
    Steals 7 7
    Blocks 9 10
    Fast Break Points 5 13
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 27 (0/0) 17 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 13 12

    Top Performers

    Utah
    Washington
    Mehmet Okur Okur
    Points: 27
    Reb: 11
    Ast: 5
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 0
    Antawn Jamison Jamison
    Points: 31
    Reb: 8
    Ast: 0
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 1