SALT LAKE CITY -- It didn't matter much where Mehmet Okur was lining up for his shots in the first half.
From 3-point range or under the basket, everything was falling for Okur in Utah's 97-88 victory over Portland on Thursday night.
Okur scored 21 of his 27 points in the first half and pulled down 10 rebounds. He was 9-for-14 from the floor and made two of the Jazz's three 3-pointers.
"I felt good, especially in the first half. I was able to mix up my game," Okur said. "In the second half I didn't want to shoot any tough shots over the hand or anything like that, so second half everybody got involved and it was a big game for us."
Okur also played well defensively as the Jazz outscored the Trail Blazers in the paint 44-32 despite playing their 12th straight game without leading scorer and rebounder Carlos Boozer (thigh).
"We tried very hard to try to help each other defensively. We ended up with a lot of easy baskets," Utah coach Jerry Sloan said. "We're much smaller than they are and they're so much stronger, it looked like to start with they were gonna score inside all night and get every offensive rebound. Finally we started blocking out and getting some of the other people involved in rebounding the basketball for us."
Brandon Roy had 33 points, and LaMarcus Aldridge added 22 for Portland, tied with Utah for second place in the Northwest Division. Rudy Fernandez was the only other Blazer to score in double figures, finishing with 10 points.
The Trail Blazers outrebounded the Jazz 43-38, but Utah had a huge advantage from the foul line. The Jazz were 24-for-30, while Portland was 14-for-19.
The Jazz also had 23 assists to Portland's 13.
Roy and Aldridge weren't enough to lead Portland to a comeback, although they did make it close.
"They did a great job and we've got to give them all the credit, but now it's our turn when we face them again to protect our home court," said Roy, who was 12-for-22 from the floor. "They did a great job of taking away my outlets and forcing me to be little bit more of a scorer.
Roy scored 15 of Portland's 20 points in the third quarter to help keep the Blazers in it. His two free throws with 5 seconds left in the period got Portland to 78-66 entering the fourth.
Aldridge hit back-to-back hook shots early in the fourth. He added two free throws to get Portland to 88-79 with 5:32 left in the game, but Williams got a key defensive rebound in the final minutes that allowed the Jazz to use up a chunk of time that Portland desperately needed.
"We knew this was a team that moved well without the ball," Portland coach Nate McMillan said. "We gave up backdoors and some layups early."
Portland didn't have a free-throw attempt in the first quarter while the Jazz went 7-for-8 and led 29-27 after the first. ... The Jazz opened the second period on an 8-0 run, including two free throws by Matt Harpring on a flagrant foul by Channing Frye. Harpring was driving for a layup and Frye reached across his face, knocking Harpring down hard under the basket. ... The Blazers didn't score in the second until Sergio Rodriguez scored with 8:43 left before halftime.
- Ken Mauer
- Bennie Adams
- Derrick Collins