Chicago beats Utah for first win

Bulls 101, Jazz 99

Posted: Thursday, November 25, 2004

SALT LAKE CITY - Coach Scott Skiles changed the way the Bulls started the game, and Ben Gordon changed the way they finished.

Gordon scored a career-high 22 points, including four free throws in the final minute, to lead Chicago past Utah and help the Bulls avoid an 0-10 start that would have been the worst in franchise history.

"It's really exciting, especially for the rookies, because it's our first win. We're going to celebrate a little bit. Everybody's happy just to get the monkey off our back," said Gordon, who also drew a charging foul on Matt Harpring in the closing moments to help the Bulls become the final NBA team to win its first game of the season.

But it almost didn't happen when Eddy Curry drew his sixth foul by running into Mehmet Okur as he was attempting a 3-point shot with 24 seconds to play.

Okur made all three of free throws, but the Bulls went 7 of-8 on foul shots in the final 23 seconds for a victory that was celebrated on the court with hugs and high fives from the coaches and players.

Andrei Kirilenko scored 20 points to lead the Jazz. Juneau-Douglas High School graduate Carlos Boozer added 18 points and 13 rebounds as Utah dropped its fourth game in its last five.

"It seems like that swagger we had at the beginning of the season, maybe teams were a little bit intimidated by us. They definitely aren't anymore," said Utah's Raja Bell.

On Monday, the Jazz allowed New Orleans to get its first win of the season.

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