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Okur bounces back from 'terrible outing'

TORONTO — After he scored just two points and sat the entire fourth quarter in last Wednesday's loss at New Jersey, some wondered what in the world happened to Mehmet Okur.

On Friday, he proved it was just an off night.

Okur bounced back from his rough outing against the Nets, scoring 29 on 9-of-16 from the field to pad his 19.2 points-per-game scoring average he brought into Utah's 99-84 win over Toronto.

Okur, Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said, "had a terrible outing over in New Jersey."

But it was out of his system, Okur said, even before he got to Toronto — just like Friday's success will be old news by the time the Jazz visit Chicago tonight to close out a four-game road trip.

"You've got to let it go," he said.

"It's behind me," Okur added. "Even when I leave this locker room, I don't want to think about this game."

CATCHING UP WITH KEON: In a recent where-is-he-is-now column, the Toronto Star's Dave Feschuk caught up with ex-Raptors and former Jazz big man Keon Clark.

Clark has had multiple opportunities to return to the league since playing his last NBA games — a couple for the Jazz in 2003 — but hardly seems interested.

"I do know how to play (basketball)," he told the Star from his Danville, Ill., home. "But I don't know how to play those other games that go along with the NBA. I'm non-conformist."

Then there's this matter:

According to the Star, Clark "didn't say whether the drop-off in interest coincided with his appearance in a (Danville area) courthouse earlier this month for a preliminary hearing on charges of possession of cocaine and cannabis, not to mention possession of a firearm without the proper identification card. ... A trial is set for January and Clark remains free on bond. ... Clark also conceded he spent a couple of days in jail recently after what he characterized as a dispute over child-support payments to the mother of his 5-year-old son, Keon."

"Jail ain't built for 6-9 guys," Clark told the Star. "I'll put it like this: When I was lying on the bed I had my feet out of the bars."

Clark, whose Utah stay was cut short by ankle surgery, implied he no longer needs the NBA because he's already earned enough to live comfortably for the rest of his life.

He also suggested that making millions has its pitfalls.

"I've lost everybody, including my son, because of money. No question. Money always drives people apart," the Star quoted him as saying. "You know, I really wasn't a big NBA guy. I just did it because I was good at it. I don't understand how these people can literally beat their bodies to death, for money. Why kill yourself?"

Clark plays hoops only about once a week at a local YMCA.

"I'm really cool doing nothing," he said.

MISC.: Because his doctor doesn't want him taking part in back-to-back games so soon after his offseason microfracture knee surgery, Jazz forward Matt Harpring won't play tonight in Chicago. Harpring has played in one back-to-back set this season, but since then the knee has had a bit of swelling ... Carlos Boozer (strained hamstring) sat out again Friday at Toronto, and the Jazz say they don't have a timetable for his return ... Utah's healthy inactives Friday, again: rookies Robert Whaley, C.J. Miles.


E-mail: tbuckley@desnews.com