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Jazz down Celtics, Garnett hurts knee

FORWARD Matt Harpring delivered a go-ahead jump shot with one minute left to help the Utah Jazz complete a fourth-quarter comeback and defeat the Boston Celtics 90-85 on Thursday.

The 15-footer gave Utah an 87-85 lead and Deron Williams followed up with two of his 18 points for the Jazz after the Celtics lost Kevin Garnett in the second quarter due to a strained right knee. Boston's All Star forward left the court before halftime trying not to put much weight on his right leg.

Although the injury is not expected to be serious, the Celtics did not want to take any chance.

"I'm not taking a risk by putting him out there on the floor. It's a long season," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. "I know it's his knee, I didn't really ask him about it. I thought we played our butts off and had many opportunities tonight."

Paul Pierce scored 20 points but made just seven of 19 shots for Boston, which had a 71-64 lead with 9:42 to go.

The Jazz used a 12-5 run to tie the contest at 76-76 with 5:43 left.

Mehmet Okur scored a team-high 19 points for Utah and Harpring had four of his eight points in the final quarter while playing tough defense on Pierce down the stretch.

It was the third win in a row for the Jazz, who also defeated the Los Angeles Lakers 113-109 last week.

"(This is) our second statement win," Williams said. "Both wins have been huge for our confidence. We can be really dangerous. We had high hopes this season but we've been injured. If we get healthy and rolling, look out."

Utah (32-23), currently in the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference, are expecting the near return of power forward Carlos Boozer, out since November 19 due to a knee injury.

All-Star break

The Celtics (44-12) were playing in their first game since the All-Star break. Already without reserve guard Tony Allen, out for two months with a thumb injury, Boston are hoping not to lose their starting power forward for long but are prepared.

"We've been able to win without KG and proven that we can (in the past)," said Danny Ainge, Celtics president of basketball operations. "The guys just have to take the challenge. We'll reevaluate it for Sunday's game (against the Phoenix Suns)."

In the NBA's only other action, the San Antonio Spurs scored an 83-79 road win over the Detroit Pistons behind 19 points from Tony Parker and 18 from Tim Duncan.

Meanwhile, the Chicago Bulls moved to jump-start their playoff push by acquiring Tim Thomas from the New York Knicks in a quiet final day of NBA trading on Thursday.

Chicago also acquired guard Anthony Roberson and center Jerome James from the Knicks as part of the deal in exchange for veteran guard Larry Hughes.

Several high-profile players like the Phoenix Suns' Shaquille O'Neal were expected to be on the market but no blockbuster deals occurred before the deadline.

In a three-way trade completed just before the deadline, the Houston Rockets shipped guard Rafer Alston to the Orlando Magic, with Memphis guard Kyle Lowry and Orlando forward Brian Cook heading to the Rockets.

Memphis received a future first-round pick from Orlando as part of the deal. Orlando also sent center Adonal Foyle and Mike Wilks to Memphis.


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