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News » Thunder-Jazz Preview 2009-11-23

Thunder-Jazz Preview 2009-11-23

Thunder-Jazz Preview 2009-11-23Even with a shortened bench, the Utah Jazz are playing their best basketball of the season.

The Jazz look for a season-high fourth straight victory Tuesday night, when they go for their fifth consecutive home win over the Oklahoma City Thunder franchise.

With Kyle Korver (left knee), C.J. Miles (thumb), Matt Harpring (ankle/knee) yet to play a game, and with Ronnie Price spraining his left big toe Nov. 9 against New York, Utah (7-6) was again down to nine players Saturday when center Mehmet Okur missed his third straight game with flu-like symptoms.

The Jazz, though, opened their six-game homestand with a 100-97 overtime victory over Detroit behind 22 points each from Andrei Kirilenko and Carlos Boozer.

Kirilenko, who scored six of his points in the extra period, also grabbed a season-high 10 rebounds.

Boozer added seven boards - snapping his string of four straight double-doubles - but hit all 10 of his free throws as Utah held a 44-25 edge in foul shots attempted.

"I thought Andrei had a great game off the bench," said coach Jerry Sloan, whose team's last four-game winning streak was a 12-game run from Feb. 11-March 10. "Boozer made all these free throws and made some key baskets to help us win the ball game."

Okur is questionable for this game, but Utah's current winning streak began with the return of point guard Deron Williams, who missed two games to be with his daughter while she underwent medical tests.

He recorded his second straight double-double Saturday with 14 points and 11 assists.

"It was a tough game for us," said Williams, who averaged 24.3 points and 9.7 assists in three games versus the Thunder in 2008-09. "We had to win it on the defensive end and that's what we did."

Utah is holding teams to 90.3 points and 41.5 percent shooting during its winning streak. The Jazz will try to extend that run against an Oklahoma City team that shot 37.2 percent from the field in Sunday's 101-85 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Thunder (7-7) matched a franchise record with 15 blocks and outrebounded the defending NBA champions 51-49, but they committed 19 turnovers - six by second-year point guard Russell Westbrook.

"We played against the best team in basketball," said coach Scott Brooks, whose team has allowed an average of 105.7 points in its last three games. "We didn't handle their physical toughness. They got into us, we set the offense too far out and turned the ball over. They capitalized on every mistake, and that's what they do."

Kevin Durant, who missed his first five shots Sunday and scored 19 points, averaged 24.5 and 9.0 boards as Oklahoma City lost three of four to Utah last season, including both games in Salt Lake City.

The Thunder franchise has gone 0-4 at Utah since moving to Oklahoma City for the 2007-08 season, with the last victory there April 7, 2007, when the team was located in Seattle.

Oklahoma City, which is 4-4 on the road this season, didn't win its fifth away game in 2008-09 until March 10.

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Author: Fox Sports
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Added: November 23, 2009


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