Jazz rally in fourth quarter to beat Suns
PHOENIX: Deron Williams scored 13 of his 27 points during a 41-point fourth quarter, Mehmet Okur added 24 points, and Utah rallied from a 12-point final period deficit to beat the Phoenix Suns 116-108 on Thursday night.
The Jazz trailed 98-86 early in the fourth quarter, then reeled off 12 straight points, capped by a 3-pointer by Okur to tie the game.
They took the lead for good on a 3-pointer by Williams with 1:36 remaining that made it 109-106.
The game was reminiscent of the teams' first meeting this season when the Jazz came back from a 17-point deficit and defeated the Suns 124-115.
Carlos Boozer had 15 points and 15 rebounds for Utah.
Amare Stoudemire scored 30 points for the second consecutive game for Phoenix. Jason Richardson had 22, Grant Hill 17 and Steve Nash 14 points and 15 assists.
The Suns took control in the first half with a blistering shooting performance (13-for-19, 73.7 percent) and an 11-0 run in the opening quarter. After Okur hit the first field goal, the Suns ran off their burst, with Robin Lopez making three shots.
The Jazz never got closer than five points after that in the half and needed a 3-pointer by Sundiata Gaines at the buzzer to trail 57-49 at intermission.
Nash, who scored only two points against the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday night, already had 14 at the half, along with eight assists, directing the Suns' offense with his usual efficiency.
At the break, the Suns still were shooting a dazzling 64.9 percent (24-for-37). What kept Utah reasonably close was its offensive rebounding. Nearly half the Jazz's total 23 rebounds (11) were off the offensive glass and they scored 11 second-chance points.
Phoenix's biggest lead in the first half was 13 points, 37-24, on a three-point play by Jared Dudley with 1:30 gone in the second quarter.
Utah was hurt in the half when Williams and Andrei Kirilenko each incurred three personal fouls.
Stoudemire really asserted himself in the third quarter, scoring 15 points on a variety of shots — including three dunks, a jumper, a drive, a layup and three foul shots, two of them completing three-point plays.
Okur kept the Jazz reasonably close — they trailed 86-75 at the end of the period — with 10 points. The Suns' turnovers — they had a total of 15, leading to 16 points, also helped the Jazz.
But it was the Suns' extraordinary shooting — they were 34-for-53, 64.2 percent, at that point, that kept them safely ahead.