Second half begins sour for the Jazz

With Boozer on bench, Utah unable to rally against Dallas

Posted: Thursday, February 24, 2005

SALT LAKE CITY - After blowing one big lead, the Dallas Mavericks made sure their next one was never in jeopardy.

The Mavericks overcame being called for 34 fouls with strong shooting and even stronger defense, winning their fifth straight 101-83 over the Utah Jazz on Wednesday night.

The week off for the All-Star break didn't help the Jazz, who have lost five six.

Utah was without Juneau-Douglas High School graduate Carlos Boozer - the team's leading scorer and rebounder - who sat out for the second straight game with a foot injury.

"We got confused on what we were doing defensively a couple of times as we came down the stretch," Utah coach Jerry Sloan said. "We also got confused as to what we were trying to do offensively."

Dallas scored the first eight points of the game and led by as much as 15 in the first quarter, but Utah gradually came back and took a few slim leads before the Mavericks finally shut down the Jazz in the second half.

"I thought in the first half they really kept in the game by getting to the foul line," said Dirk Nowitzki, who scored 16 of his 29 points in the second half to lead Dallas. "They really attacked the offensive glass and I thought in the second half we just took those things away. We tried to keep them in front of us in the penetration. We tried to keep them off the line. Don't do all those ticky-tack fouls. That really worked for us."

Josh Howard added 18 points and nine rebounds and Michael Finley scored 24 for the Mavericks, who outscored Utah 26-14 in the fourth quarter.

Dallas committed 13 more fouls than Utah in a chippy game that included four technical fouls, two flagrants and several others that could have been called for more than just a personal foul.

"We can be physical or we can back down," Dallas guard Jason Terry said. "We chose to be physical and get to the free-throw line."

Utah had its worst shooting night of the season, going 23-for-75 from the floor but stayed in it by making 36 of 39 free throws.

Raja Bell led Utah with 16 points and Howard Eisley and Andrei Kirilenko each scored 12.

The Jazz had nothing left down the stretch and could not stop Nowitzki and the Mavericks, who had just four turnovers in the second half after committing 12 in the first.

Tempers flared several times in the game and although there were no fights, there were plenty of times it looked close to happening as the fouls kept getting harder.

"Utah always plays physical," Finley said. "They play with that type of tenacity. That's what kind of player Coach Sloan was when he was in the league and it's carried over to this team."

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