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Okur's late triple helps Jazz pip Lakers
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Utah Jazz forward Mehmet Okur made a go-ahead 3-pointer with 42 seconds left to help his team edge past the NBA-best Los Angeles Lakers 113-109 on Wednesday.

Deron Williams had a team-high 31 points and 11 assists and Okur tallied 22 and eight rebounds as the Jazz snapped the Lakers' seven-game winning streak in the last contest before both teams head into the all-star break.

"That's what I was waiting for. I knew it was coming to me so I was ready," Okur told reporters about his decisive jump shot.

"It was a playoff type game in the last four minutes," he said. "Every game is a big game, especially after (the) all-star break."

Kobe Bryant had nine of his 37 points in the game's final seven minutes. The all-star guard converted on a steal and a layup to tie the game at 107 with 1:01 remaining.

Utah responded with a set play that freed its 7-foot sharpshooter for a game-winning triple and the Jazz recorded their fourth win in the last five contests.

Utah held a 101-92 advantage with 5:58 remaining in the game before Los Angeles used a 13-3 spurt to go up 105-104 after a pull-up 3-pointer by Bryant with 1:36 to go.

The Jazz (30-23) kept the ever-dangerous Lakers (42-10) in the contest by missing nine free throws in the fourth quarter.

Los Angeles forward Lamar Odom finished with 19 points and 19 rebounds, continuing to thrive while filling the hole left in the starting lineup by injured center Andrew Bynum, out with a knee injury.

The Lakers had swept to victory in their six-game road trip, including back-to-back wins over the two top Eastern Conference teams Boston Celtics and Cleveland Cavaliers, before the game.

Nuggets 82, Magic 73

At Orlando, Florida, the Denver Nuggets snapped a 15-game losing streak in Orlando by beating the Magic 82-73 on Wednesday.

Carmelo Anthony had 29 points and eight rebounds for the Nuggets, who maintained their three-game lead atop the Northwest Division and won in Orlando for the first time since the 1991-92 season.

The Magic finished with a season low in points, a season-high 24 turnovers and were held to a season-low 30.4 percent shooting from the floor.

Celtics 89, Hornets 77

In New Orleans, Boston made it eight straight wins on the road by defeating New Orleans.

Paul Pierce scored 30 points for the Celtics, who spoiled Chris Paul's return from four games out with a groin strain for the Hornets.

Boston pulled away in the final quarter despite the absence of Ray Allen, who hyperextended his right thumb in the first half.

Cavaliers 109, Suns 92

In Cleveland, in his first home game since being named an all-star, Mo Williams scored a career-high 44 points to lead Cleveland over Phoenix.

LeBron James added 26 for the Cavaliers, who responded to their first back-to-back losses of the season with an impressive showing that notched their 40th win of the season.

Williams went 18-of-26 from the floor as Cleveland outran the speedy Suns, who were without starting point guard Steve Nash, who was rested.

Phoenix will host this weekend's all-star game and could undergo a makeover before the Feb 21 trading deadline, with Amare Stoudemire and Shaquille O'Neal mentioned in trade rumors.

Raptors 91, Spurs 89

In Toronto, Roko Ukic scored a career-high 22 points as Toronto hung on to defeat San Antonio.

Andrea Bargnani had 23 points for the Raptors, who had to watch as Tim Duncan's attempted game-tying shot on the buzzer missed.

Rockets 94, Kings 82

In Houston, Yao Ming had 24 points and 18 rebounds as Houston again shone without injured Tracy McGrady, defeating Sacramento.

Rafer Alston dished out a season-high 13 assists for the Rockets, who improved to 12-6 with McGrady out of the lineup this season. McGrady is nursing a sore left knee, the aftermath of offseason surgery.

The Rockets hardly needed McGrady against the woeful Kings, who scored only 31 points in the middle two quarters.

(Agencies via China Daily Feburary 13, 2009)


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