Harris carries Nets to blowout over JazzNov 30, 2008 - 6:30 AM By Tony Pizza PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer
SALT LAKE CITY (Ticker) -- The Utah Jazz had no answer for Devin Harris on Saturday.
Devin Harris put on a driving clinic as he scored 34 points on 13-of-17 shooting, with most of his shots coming on layups and floaters within five feet of the basket, to lead the Nets to a 105-88 victory over the Jazz.
"I come in every game, that's what I do best is attack the basket getting in the lane and creating some havoc," Harris said. "Tonight I was able to get some shots going early and it got me in a rhythm early and carried me into the second half."
The win came just one night after the Jazz put up their highest point total of the season in a 120-94 rout over Memphis. But the Nets forced one of the league's best home teams into its worst offensive performance at home this season.
"Energy-wise, I thought we were in trouble right at the beginning of the ballgame," Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said. "It appeared we didn't have the energy we should have to be able to play - enough defensively to keep them in front. I think they shot 55-60 percent in the first half, and that's a cocktail for failure right away."
Vince Carter added 22 points as the Nets improved to 5-3 on the road to hand Utah its most lopsided home loss since a 28-point defeat on April 14, 2007 against Phoenix.
"First and foremost, you have to be able to sustain the opening punch, especially in the first quarter (and) the first five minutes; likewise in the third quarter," Carter said. "We tried to deliver the blow first instead of (having) the blow delivered to us."
The Jazz looked out of sync all night, but had an especially rough second half. Just one day removed from a 44-point third quarter, they had 16 points in the first 12 minutes of the second half against the Nets and shot a measly 29 percent from the field during the period. New Jersey shot 52 percent from the field (40-of-77) overall.
"We have an unbelievable amount of respect for Utah," Nets coach Lawrence Frank said. "You don't beat Utah just by suiting up five guys. You have to earn the win against Utah and our guys played their tails off to get that win."
One sequence in particular served as a microcosm for the entire game. With less than a minute to play, the Jazz forced a turnover, only to see New Jersey get the ball right back despite having a three-man trap on the baseline. Keyon Dooling then found Carter on the opposite wing, who buried a 3- pointer to cap off a 9-2 run and put the Nets up, 83-67, through three.
"I know the story is going to be about (Devin Harris) and it's going to be about Vince (Carter), but you don't win this game without all the other guys doing their part in it," Frank said. "There were some key defensive plays, getting great play from the bench in terms of being able to get those guys some rest."
Deron Williams - who appeared in his third game since returning from an ankle injury that held him out of 13 of Utah's first 15 games - played in his first back-to-back of the season and was noticeably bothered by the ankle injury. With his explosiveness not yet up to par, the quicker Harris was able to get easy looks at the basket.
"It was tough to stay in front of him," Williams said of Harris. "They just clearned out for him and Vince Carter, and those guys are tough. They did a great job executing every time down the court and getting high-percentage shots and we couldn't stop them."
Already without four players - including All-Star Carlos Boozer and backup point guard Brevin Knight - the Jazz also lost their best defender, veteran forward Andrei Kirilenko, to right ankle inflammation in the second quarter. He did not return.
"Obviously Andrei (Kirilenko) went out of the game and wasn't able to come back and play, all these things kind of - you feel sorry for yourself sometimes with this business," Sloan said. "You see them drop their heads down. But that's where you learn how to fight; you learn how to compete and jump right back into it the next day and be ready to go."
The Jazz have averaged 112 points during their four-game home stand, but managed just 37 points in the second half against New Jersey. After having their 14-game home winning streak snapped on Monday against Chicago, the team with the best home record in the league last season dropped its second home game in four tries.
"Yeah, it wasn't a good basketball game for us," Williams said. "I don't think we came out with a lot of energy, as much energy as we should have. It was a back-to-back at home. We slept in our own beds, we didn't have to travel anywhere. They were just more aggressive the whole game, offensively and defensively. We didn't get any stops."
Paul Millsap led the way for the Jazz second time in three games with 20 points and 10 rebounds, his fourth double-double in as many games.
Williams managed his third-straight double-double since coming back. He had 10 points and 13 assists and is averaging 14.3 assists since returning to the lineup on Wednesday.
NEW JERSEY 105
UTAH 88 FINAL
Nov 29 11:25 PM
NEW JERSEY 83
UTAH 67 END, 3RD QTR
Nov 29 10:58 PM
NEW JERSEY 59
UTAH 51 HALFTIME
Nov 29 10:16 PM
NEW JERSEY 28
UTAH 29 END, 1ST QTR
Nov 29 9:41 PM
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