10:30 PM ET, November 26, 2009
EnergySolutions Arena, Salt Lake City, UT
SALT LAKE CITY -- Carlos Boozer's arms never seemed to stop moving.
He was either making shots, blocking them or grabbing every rebound that came within his grasp. And when the whistle blew, he was still in motion pumping his fists.
Boozer scored 28 points on 12-for-14 shooting to lead the Utah Jazz to a 105-86 win over the slumping Chicago Bulls on Thursday night. He also had eight rebounds, five assists and three of the Jazz's season-high eight blocks.
"You can see he's back to where he was a couple of years ago when he was an All-Star," Utah point guard Deron Williams said. "Hopefully he can just keep producing like this because he's playing great on both ends of the floor."
Williams had 21 points and six assists for the Jazz, who blew open the game by making 10 of their first 11 shots in the fourth quarter.
The Jazz dominated inside, outscoring the Bulls 62-42 and finished 45 for 74 from the floor. Utah had a better shooting percentage from the field than at the foul line, where the Jazz went 13 for 23.
Boozer made his first seven shots and didn't miss until the second half. He only missed once more and was hitting from the outside as well as driving for layups and dunks.
Boozer had one of his best games of the season against a team he said over the summer he wouldn't mind playing for during an interview with a Chicago radio station. But the trade Boozer talked about on the air never materialized and Boozer was playing against the Bulls instead of for them.
He seemed to be enjoying it.
"I'm in a great groove, having a good time out there," Boozer said. "We have fun out there. If we play like that we can compete with anybody."
The Jazz had been booed loudly just two nights before in a loss at home to Oklahoma City, but on Thursday there was nothing but cheering.
"It was kind of a totally different team," coach Jerry Sloan said. "We were a lot more alive and a lot more aggressive than we were the other night."
Luol Deng had 26 points and eight rebounds for Chicago, and Derrick Rose had 19 points. James Johnson was the only Chicago player other than Rose and Deng to score in double figures, finishing with 10.
The Bulls lost their fourth straight and fell to 1-4 on a six-game trip, which ends Monday night in Milwaukee.
"We didn't shoot the basketball well, especially in the second half," Chicago coach Vinny Del Negro said. "We could never really put up a fight to get back in it and put some pressure on them."
Not with the way the Jazz were shooting. Utah hadn't shot above 60 percent since March 2008.
Utah had much more energy than in Tuesday's loss to the Thunder, which forced the Jazz into 24 turnovers. Utah cut that total to 14 against the Bulls.
"We just looked like a completely different team tonight," Williams said. "I guess that last one stung us a little bit."
Utah led 81-65 at the end of the third and opened the fourth on a 10-3 run, taking an 87-68 lead on an alley-oop from Williams to Brewer with 10:43 left to play. Chicago called time out, but couldn't score and Williams followed with a jumper from the top of the key and Andrei Kirilenko drove the baseline for a dunk that put the Jazz up 91-68
The Jazz made 10 of their first 11 shots in the period and continued to play pesky defense the rest of the way.
Chicago had made a few runs in the third quarter, but none went very long. After the Bulls got within 62-50 on Salmons' three-point play with 8:37 left in the third, the Jazz answered with six straight. Boozer made a layup, Brewer hit a free throw and then Okur hit a 3-pointer that put the Jazz up 68-50 with 6:59 left in the third and the Bulls called a time out.
Chicago cut it back to 14, but Boozer spun free on a pick and roll and made a one-handed dunk while drawing a foul. He hit the free throw to put Utah up 71-54, then Millsap blocked Rose at the other end to start a fast break that Wesley Matthews finished with a dunk and Utah led by 19.
"We were right there in the beginning and fell away," Rose said. "We're not communicating and we are letting people do whatever."
Boozer was 7 for 7 in the first half for 16 points, and with six rebounds and five assists, including a pass to Brewer for a power dunk with 3.6 seconds left that gave the Jazz a 57-40 halftime lead.
The Bulls were without backup point guard Kirk Hinrich (sprained left thumb). ... The Jazz had nine available players and used only eight until C Kosta Koufos entered the game late in the fourth quarter. ... The Jazz made eight of their first nine shots in the second quarter and shot 14 for 21 in the period.
Team Stat Comparison
|FGM-FGA||34-81 (.420)||45-74 (.608)|
|3PM-3PA||3-8 (.375)||2-5 (.400)|
|FTM-FTA||15-19 (.789)||13-23 (.565)|
|Fast Break Points||22||11|
|Fouls (Tech/Flagrant)||22 (1/0)||20 (0/0)|