Jazz Notes: Bench's strength gives Jazz a critical advantage
OKLAHOMA CITY - The Jazz were leading by 15 points in the fourth quarter Friday when Carlos Boozer checked into the game. Eight minutes later, after collecting a basket and four more rebounds, the power forward departed with Utah's lead up to 28.
Derek Fisher also played nine minutes in the fourth quarter. But starters Mehmet Okur, Andrei Kirilenko and Deron Williams never made an appearance, with Okur sitting out the game's final 13 minutes.
And that was OK with the regulars.
"It's good not to play four quarters sometimes," Williams said of his 29 minutes of work, his second-shortest stint of 2007. "I was hoping we were going to keep the lead. I wanted to chill out, get a couple extra minutes of rest."
And watch the Jazz's reserves keep battering the Timberwolves, too. "Our bench is the best," said Okur. "I like when I can watch them, because they're why we are good too, you know?
A lot of teams know now. The Jazz's reserves outscored Minnesota's 25-0 in the first half and 51-23 for the game, the 41st time this season that Utah has owned that advantage. The Jazz are 30-11 in those games.
"We're just a deep team," said Matt Harpring. "We're getting more opportunities, more minutes. I think our bench has been doing great all year."
"It's a more experienced group, other than [rookie] Paul Millsap, and that's a big thing," said Jazz coach Jerry Sloan. "We didn't used to have this sort of experience on our bench. Now we bring in players who know what they're doing out there. That's a huge advantage for us."
Buy your tickets now
The Jazz began their season-ticket campaign for the 2007-08 season Thursday, and by tying orders to the right to purchase playoff tickets this spring, sold more than 1,000 seats by the weekend, the team said. The Jazz sold 722 season tickets on the first day alone, a new franchise record for one-day sales, and added another 344 seats sold a day later. By comparison, the team filled fewer than 750 new orders during the entire summer of 2005, after the team's 26-56 disaster.
Tonight's tipoff has been moved back to 6 p.m. MST in order to accommodate ESPN's national television broadcast. It's the fourth Jazz game to be televised nationally this season. . . . Roger Powell would have preferred to stay with the Jazz. Some D League teams are wishing he had as well. The rookie small forward, released by the Jazz in January after spending three months with the team, averaged 27.6 points and 7.3 assists for the Arkansas RimRockers in February.
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