(16-11, 6-7 away)
(12-12, 4-8 home)
7:30 PM ET, December 17, 2008
IZOD Center, East Rutherford, NJ
• The Jazz ended a five-game losing streak at New Jersey.
• The Nets fell to 8-3 in their last 11 games vs. Utah.
• The Nets are 4-8 at home this season but 8-4 on the road.
-- ESPN research
Once their point guard returned, the Jazz finished off the New Jersey Nets after a horrendous start.
Williams had 17 points and 11 assists and Utah overcame a seven-point first quarter and a 22-point deficit to beat New Jersey 103-92 on Wednesday night.
The U.S. Olympian had only one point during 10 minutes on the floor in the first period and then watched the second while the Jazz began chipping away without him.
"He was struggling in his game, because if you don't execute, the point guard doesn't get anything done," Utah coach Jerry Sloan said. "And other guys just were looking to take shots. They weren't looking to win the game. They were looking to take shots."
Mehmet Okur had 23 points and nine rebounds for the Jazz, who snapped a two-game losing streak and improved to 1-1 on a five-game trip. They played without starting forward Carlos Boozer for the 15th straight game because of a strained left quadriceps and then lost Sloan after he picked up two technical fouls 33 seconds apart early in the fourth quarter.
Paul Millsap added 18 points and 12 rebounds in his 13th straight double-double for the Jazz, who made only three field goals during one of the worst quarters in franchise history. Williams wasn't surprised that he didn't get the call the rest of the first half.
"When Brevin [Knight] comes in and Ronnie Price comes in and do the job they did and give us a big spark like that, and I played as poorly as I did, they deserve to play," said Williams, still working his way back into shape following a preseason sprained ankle. "Luckily I got it going in the second half so I didn't have to sit more."
Vince Carter scored 32 points for the Nets, who opened a four-game homestand that continues Friday against the Dallas Mavericks, when Jason Kidd returns to the Meadowlands for the first time since getting traded last February. Devin Harris, the key player New Jersey got in return, had 21 points and 11 assists.
New Jersey hadn't blown such a large lead in a loss since it led by 23 against Vancouver on Jan. 29, 2001, and fell 97-86. The Nets wasted their terrific start by giving up 72 points and 64 percent shooting in the second half. They were outrebounded 53-36.
"When it comes down to execution from a team like Utah, we let them hang around like that, I mean they are one of the best executing teams in the NBA," Harris said. "They did what they did in the fourth quarter and we were unable to fight back."
The Jazz never led until midway through the fourth quarter. They fell behind again by three but then surged into the lead with an 11-0 spurt. Kyle Korver followed Millsap's bucket with five straight points, starting with a jumper that gave them the lead for good at 81-80 with 5:18 to go.
Okur sank two free throws before Millsap scored again for an 88-80 advantage with 3:33 to play. The Nets were scoreless for more than three minutes before Carter's jumper ended their drought.
The game was tied at two before the Nets scored 13 consecutive points to go up 15-2 on Harris' three-point play. Kosta Koufos ended a run of six straight missed shots with a putback, but Utah then missed another eight in a row.
Morris Almond's jumper with 2.8 seconds left ended that slump and made it 27-7, allowing the Jazz to avoid matching the worst quarter in franchise history. Utah scored five points in the second quarter against the Los Angeles Lakers on Dec. 1, 1981.
The Jazz were 3-for-19 (16 percent) with seven turnovers in the quarter and then got right back into the game when the Nets were nearly as awful in the second. The Jazz cut it to 39-31, getting some strong play from reserve Andrei Kirilenko, after the Nets shot 5-for-19.
"The tide turned in that second quarter," Nets coach Lawrence Frank said. "Even though in the third quarter we withstood it, at the end of the day we struggled with their physicality. Their zone gave us some problems. We just couldn't put together a consistent enough stretch to make shots."
The offenses finally woke up in the third, with Carter scoring 15 points and Williams 12 as New Jersey brought a 69-63 lead to the final period. Sloan was hit with a technical less than a minute in and then got another and an ejection with 10:29 to play after he said something to Steve Javie following a missed shot by Millsap.
The Nets matched their record for fewest points allowed in a first quarter. Their best in any period was five points allowed in the fourth quarter against Portland on March 15, 2006. ... The Jazz went 1-4 in November during their first five-game trip through the East. They have another one in March.
Team Stat Comparison
|FGM-FGA||35-78 (.449)||35-85 (.412)|
|3PM-3PA||4-9 (.444)||4-22 (.182)|
|FTM-FTA||29-35 (.829)||18-22 (.818)|
|Fast Break Points||15||15|
|Fouls (Tech/Flagrant)||21 (3/0)||25 (0/0)|