Williams, Jazz cruise past lowly TimberwolvesMar 6, 2008 - 6:14 AM By Chris Bellamy PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer
SALT LAKE CITY (Ticker) -- The last two times the Utah Jazz were on their home floor, they had to sweat it out against contenders like the Detroit Pistons and Dallas Mavericks. On Wednesday night, things came a little easier.
Deron Williams had 21 points and 11 assists, Carlos Boozer added 16 and 14 boards to lead the Jazz to a 105-76 rout of the lowly Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday night.
The Jazz scored the first 15 points of the second half to take full control on the way to their 17th straight home victory, two shy of the franchise record set in 1996.
In addition to keeping pace in the ultra-tight Western Conference playoff race, the Jazz also were able to avenge one of their most embarrassing losses of the season. In the first meeting between the teams last Tuesday, Utah turned the ball over 24 times and faltered in the fourth quarter en route to a surprising 111-100 loss to Minnesota.
"They took advantage of us. Give them all the credit, they took it right to us and beat us at their place," Boozer said. "We came back here ready for them and we took it right to 'em."
Back on the comfort of their home floor where they are a league-best 27-3 the Jazz left no doubt in this one. After going into the half with a comfortable but indecisive 12-point lead, they took over in the opening minutes of the third.
"We did a good job in the second half. It was a different ballgame, and we came out in that third quarter with a lot of fire," Williams said. "I thought that third quarter was one of the best quarters we've played this year. We got stops, made them shoot tough shots, got out and ran and executed well."
Williams exploited the wide-open holes in Minnesota's defense, scoring on three driving layups - drawing contact twice and converting one three-point play - in the first three minutes of the third as Utah opened up a commanding 66-39 lead.
"I just wanted to try to put pressure on the defense," said Williams, who scored 14 of his 21 in the third. "I didn't think I was really that aggressive scoring the ball in the first half, so I wanted to come out and try to take over a little bit and try to put the game out of reach."
From then on, the Timberwolves rarely cut the deficit under the 20-point mark. Williams and the rest of Utah's starters played sparingly in the final period.
"They got a 12-point lead in the first half and, in the second half, we came out with no energy (or) much intensity and kind of gave up," Minnesota point guard Sebastian Telfair said.
Second-year guard Ronnie Brewer scored 16 points and Mehmet Okur added 15 for the Jazz.
Randy Foye paced Minnesota with 18 points, nearly twice his season average.
The Jazz were without starting forward Andrei Kirilenko, who took a hard tumble to the floor on a flagrant foul by the Mavericks' Dirk Nowitzki during Monday's win over Dallas. Nowitzki was suspended one game by the NBA for the foul, and Kirilenko suffered a sprained right hip and is day-to-day.
Third-year swingman C.J. Miles took his place in the starting lineup and finished with nine points.
UTAH 105 FINAL
Mar 5 11:23 PM
UTAH 80 END, 3RD QTR
Mar 5 10:51 PM
UTAH 51 HALFTIME
Mar 5 10:09 PM
UTAH 26 END, 1ST QTR
Mar 5 9:34 PM
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