NBA Game Summary - Phoenix at Utah
(Wednesday, January 12th)
Final Score: Utah 115, Phoenix 108
Salt Lake City, UT (Sports Network) - Mehmet Okur racked up 21 points and a season-best 17 rebounds to lead a spectacular Utah bench effort as the Jazz ended Phoenix's seven-game win streak with a 115-108 victory at the Delta Center.
Fellow reserve Raja Bell contributed 19 points on 9-of-11 shooting as the Jazz's reserves outscored the Suns' subs by a whopping 67-6 margin. Matt Harpring paced the starters with 18 points, while Keith McLeod tied a career- high with 11 assists for Utah, which has won two straight following a nine- game slide.
"The monkey's kind of off our back," Bell remarked. "I think we've understood how hard we have to work to win games. It's important that we start learning to win and get that feeling back about our team."
Quentin Richardson scored 24 points and Steve Nash compiled 22 along with 11 assists for Phoenix, which fell for just the second time in 20 games. Shawn Marion finished with 20 points in the loss.
"I'm not one for making excuses," said Richardson. "They were the better team tonight."
The Suns appeared to be on their way to another win early on, as Phoenix outscored the Jazz 23-9 over the game's first 6 1/2 minutes. Utah then countered with a 13-4 run to get back into it and trailed just 29-26 after one period of play.
The Jazz continued to close the gap and took a 43-42 lead after a three-point play by McLeod with 5:31 left in the second quarter. The basket and free-throw ignited a 15-7 spurt to close out the first half as the hosts took a 55-49 advantage into the locker room.
Utah extended the margin up to 11 points in the third quarter before the Suns fought back. A three-point play by Amare Stoudemire ended a 9-0 spurt which pulled Phoenix within 83-82 late in the stanza.
The Jazz then reeled off nine straight points and went ahead 92-82 on Howard Eisley's three-pointer 22 seconds into the final quarter. Phoenix was down by double digits through most of the fourth period and never got closer than the final score.
"I don't think we had the same energy," said Marion. "We've got to give (Utah) credit, though."
The win was just Utah's fourth in its last 10 games at the Delta Center...Phoenix had won four in a row on the road...The Jazz snapped a three- game losing streak to the Suns, including two defeats earlier this season....Bell had missed Utah's last five contests due to inflammation in his right knee...Stoudamire ended with 19 points.
01/13 00:05:10 ET