Jazz split back-to-back set

By By Jason Peterson

By Jason Peterson

This past weekend for the Utah Jazz was like eating a piece of dark chocolate — it was sweet going down, but they were left with a bitter aftertaste.

Four games into the season, the Jazz are 2-2 with both victories coming at the expense of Golden State, including Saturday night’s 133-110 coup.

The bitter part came at the latter end of the weekend’s back-to-back set — a 119-109 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers.

Utah’s other aberration came on Thursday night’s loss to the Houston Rockets and Tracy McGrady’s 47 points.

Saturday’s showdown with the Warriors appeared well on its way to becoming a recurring nightmare when Golden State’s Al Harrington scored 12 points within the game’s first seven minutes and led Golden State to a 22-12 lead.

Fortunately for Utah, the Jazz woke up in the second quarter and held the Warriors to just 25 percent shooting. Thanks to Gordan Giricek’s 12 points, Utah doubled the Warriors’ score (36-18) and entered the half with a cushy 19-point lead.

Harrington wasn’t done, however, and the versatile forward scored 26 points in the second half with a variety of threes, dunks and putbacks to bring the Warriors back within six points with less than nine minutes remaining.

But Deron Williams almost single-handedly eliminated the Warriors’ threat by dropping 16 in the fourth quarter, including a pair of three-point buckets.

“I got a couple easy ones,” Williams said. “Anytime you do that, you get your confidence going. The other night (against Houston) I was a little disappointed in my shooting effort.”

Mehmet Okur scored a season-high 28 while Ronnie Brewer continued his strong play with 19 points. Carlos Boozer added 12 points and 10 rebounds.

“I’m really happy with my teammates,” Boozer said. “They stepped up and made a few shots. D-Will had a fantastic fourth quarter.”

Warriors star point guard Baron Davis had an off-night, scoring just 11 on 3-of-11 shooting, but dished out eight assists.

The former All-star lost his cool in the final two minutes after Williams scored on a jumper. Davis received the inbound pass, turned and shoved Williams to the floor. Coach Don Nelson quickly called time-out and pulled his star from the game.

Forward Kelenna Azubuike threw in 17 points for Golden State and Harrington finished with a game-high 38.

“I really got it going in the second half,” Harrington said. “But it isn’t good enough. I’m worried about wins and losses.”

In Sunday’s game, Utah entered the second half with a 51-46 lead, but the Lakers quickly pulled ahead early in the third quarter.

The Jazz were forced to play catch-up for the remainder of the game. For each attempt Utah tried to string consecutive baskets, it seemed Kobe Bryant (33 points), Derek Fisher (19) or Andrew Bynum (15) had an answer.

Williams paced the Jazz with 26 points and five assists while Boozer had 23 points, 12 rebounds and six assists.

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Lennie Mahler

Mehmet Okur fades away during a jump-shot over Golden State’s Andris Biedrins in the Jazz’ 133-110 victory at EnergySolutions Arena on Saturday.