SALT LAKE CITY -- Just a few days after receiving his NBA championship ring, Mehmet Okur reminded his former team what they let go.
Okur scored 19 points and pulled down seven rebounds to help the Utah Jazz beat the Detroit Pistons 108-93 Saturday night.
"I thought he went after the ball on the boards better because he was inspired to play against his old team," Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said. "He played
with a lot more confidence tonight as far as shooting and passing. He's a very skilled player that way."
The 7-foot Turk shot 5-for-10 from the floor and hit his only 3-point attempt. He also had plenty of help from his new teammates, who built a 23-point
lead against the short-handed Pistons and never let them get closer than nine after that.
"I tried to play just like myself. Nothing special, you know?" Okur said. "I look at my teammates if they're wide open. If I'm wide open, take the
shot. I felt good."
Carlos Boozer had 20 points and 13 rebounds and Andrei Kirilenko scored 17 for the Jazz, who have scored 100 points five times in six games. Utah had
just six 100-point games last season.
"It wasn't easy. That's a very talented team," Boozer said. "Those guys work hard and they almost came back on us."
Detroit was without Ben Wallace, who missed the game because of a death in his family, and Chauncey Billups, sidelined with a sprained ankle. The
Pistons couldn't overcome Utah's hot shooting. The Jazz went 41-for-70 (59 percent).
"They run their offense perfectly. They wait until they get the right screens, the right back door cut, everything," said Tayshaun Prince, who had 16
points for Detroit. "We knew how important it was for us to come out and be aggressive, but we weren't very aggressive."
Richard Hamilton scored 19 of his 21 points in the second half for Detroit. Antonio McDyess had 18 points and 12 rebounds for Detroit, which has split
its first six games.
Okur, who also had seven rebounds, scored more than 12 points for the first time in six games with the Jazz after signing a six-year deal this
Okur also received a technical foul after wrestling with Prince for a loose ball. Okur and Detroit's Lindsey Hunter then bumped chests at midcourt as
the officials started blowing the whistle, but the former teammates were laughing about it and it wasn't a confrontation.
"We were kidding each other -- just messing around," Okur said.
All five Detroit starters scored in double figures, but the Pistons reserves combined for just 14 points while Utah's subs scored 45.
Hunter finished with 14 points, and Rasheed Wallace added 10.
"They made the hustle plays. They beat us on the hustle plays, so you got to tip your hat off to them," Wallace said. "I ain't worried about them.
We'll see them again."
Howard Eisley and Raja Bell scored 11 in reserve roles for Utah.
After falling behind by 23, Detroit cut the lead to 15, then made another run in the fourth quarter.
Prince slammed in an offensive rebound, then hit a 3-pointer to get Detroit within 93-80 -- the closest margin since the second quarter. Hamilton hit
a jumper to make it 95-84, then Hunter made one from just inside the 3-point line, but Eisley beat the shot clock from 19 feet out to restore the
Jazz's double-digit lead.
Then, after Bell made a steal, Okur drove and drew a foul from Wallace. Okur made both free throws and frustrated Wallace, who ran a few steps toward
referee Steve Javie after the call, but calmed down enough to avoid a technical.
[Edited on 11/14/2004 by Gibbs Baby!!!]