Williams helps Jazz topple TimberwolvesApr 3, 2008 - 5:35 AM By Chris Bellamy PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer
SALT LAKE CITY (Ticker) - The Utah Jazz have suddenly added a new dimension to an offense that was already among the most explosive in the league - a 3-point shot.
A night after setting a franchise record with 15 3-pointers in a blowout victory over Washington, the notoriously conservative Jazz were on-target from long range again as they coasted to a 117-100 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday.
Deron Williams had 19 points and 14 assists in helping Utah improved to 34-4 at home.
For the second time this season, the Jazz were able to avenge a loss to the lowly Timberwolves, who walked away with a 110-103 victory on Sunday at the Target Center.
This time, Utah returned the favor.
"We definitely wanted to get it back," Williams said. "It didn't really show in the first half, but in the second half we came out, talked about some things, made some adjustments defensively and did a better job."
In what has become a growing trend over the last few months, it was hot perimeter shooting that got the job done for Utah. After Kyle Korver got things going in the second quarter with three 3-pointers to help Utah take control, the rest of the Jazz caught fire after halftime and essentially put the game away.
In the opening minutes of the third, the Jazz ran the same play three times in four possessions as Williams drove inside on the left wing, drawing a double-team before kicking back to Mehmet Okur.
"They pack the lane, they're so worried about layups and dunks with me and (Williams), and they give (Okur) shots," Jazz forward Carlos Boozer said. "That's the great thing about him is he spreads the floor for us."
The 6-11 Okur knocked down a jumper with his toe on the line and added back-to-back 3-points as the Jazz built a 65-56 lead.
"I knew (Okur) was hot at that point, so I was trying to pull the defense in, and he was trailing for a three," Williams said.
Things only got more out of hand later in the quarter as Okur and Williams connected from the arc on consecutive possessions, Andrei Kirilenko added one of his own and Ronnie Price's also hit a shot from the arc in the final minute to make it 91-71.
Coming into the year, the only proven 3-pointer shooters on Utah's were Okur and Williams, both of whom have been consistent forces from long range this season.
But with the acquisition of Korver, Kirilenko's improved shooting touch and the emergence of Price has provided a viable shooting threat for the Jazz, who shot 54 percent (12-of-22) from 3-point range.
"The reason we're getting threes is because guys are getting to the basket," Korver said. "We're not taking bad threes, we're taking wide-open 3s for the most part. ... It's not like we're predicting our offense around the 3-point shot. It's just what's happening because of the ball movement and because guys are driving to the basket."
Marko Jaric collected 18 points and eight assists and Randy Foye scored 15 for Minnesota, which fell to just 5-30 on the road this campaign.
UTAH 117 FINAL
Apr 2 11:15 PM
UTAH 91 END, 3RD QTR
Apr 2 10:40 PM
UTAH 53 HALFTIME
Apr 2 10:02 PM
UTAH 29 END, 1ST QTR
Apr 2 9:32 PM
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