for this game

Millsap steals spotlight from star guards as Jazz trounce Hornets

Jan 8, 2009 - 5:53 AM By Tony Pizza PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

SALT LAKE CITY (Ticker) -- Deron Williams likely will take his counterpart Chris Paul outdueling him statistically if it means a 26-point win for his team every time.

The game's other Paul, as in Utah's Paul Millsap, recorded his NBA-best 19th straight double-double - a 27-point, 14-rebound effort - to lead the Utah Jazz to a 116-90 rout of the New Orleans Hornets on Wednesday night.

"He keeps getting better every game," Utah head coach Jerry Sloan said of Millsap. "He's played very hard. It's really exciting to see a guy that, when the opportunity came to him, he took advantage of it and really helped himself with his determination to try to make himself a better player."

Williams improved to 9-2 in head-to-head meetings with Paul since the two entered the league as top-4 picks 3 1/2 years ago.

Statistically, Paul finally got the best of Williams, but the Jazz maintained their dominance over the Hornets.

Paul, who has averaged 13.8 points and 9.0 assists against the team who passed him up at the No. 3 spot in the 2005 draft, scored 26 points and dished out seven assists in the loss.

"I just had no energy," Williams said of his defensive effort against Paul. "I was dizzy trying to chase the blur around."

Williams, the Jazz's No. 3 pick in that draft, finished with eight points and eight assists - an individual drop-off compared to his 17.5-point, 7.6-assist career average against the Hornets.

"It's not a 1-on-1 game," Paul said of his matchup with Williams. "It's the Jazz vs. the Hornets like we always say. We're great friends. Talk all the time. All day, every day. It's just a game."

Instead, Utah's role players did most of the heavy lifting in what quickly turned into a blowout victory. The Jazz erased a first-quarter deficit and took full control in the second, doing most of their damage inside. They held a 55-26 rebounding edge and got contributions from everywhere.

With neither team doing much for the first six minutes of the second quarter, the Jazz turned a 39-36 deficit into a 12-point advantage by the end of the half, taking control on the strength of a 9-0 run that spanned just 75 seconds. Andrei Kirilenko got things started with a layup and Kyle Korver put Utah on top for good moments later with a 3-pointer.

Williams pulled up for a long jumper and Matt Harpring added a layup to cap the spurt.

Paul hit a 3-pointer to make the score 47-44 with 3:23 remaining in the half, but the Jazz responded with an 11-2 run to waltz into the break with a 58-46 lead. The Hornets scored just 13 points in the second quarter after Paul scored 12 by himself in the first.

"It was a good win for us against a very good team that had a tough game last night," Sloan said. "Obviously it's a long trip for them to have to come up here, but that's the way it works out (and) you try to take advantage as much as you can."

Utah tacked onto that lead with a 10-2 start to the third period and kept its lead near 20 for the remainder of the game. The Hornets would get no closer than 15 and trailed by as many as 33 with less than four minutes to play.

"I think we've got to give a little more effort night-in and night-out," Paul said. "We've got to get more consistent. You know, we had a big win last night so, I don't think we're a team of excuses. We should never come in tonight and say, OK, we won last night, we can rest tonight."

David West chipped in 13 points, but it was no match for Utah's bench, which outscored New Orleans, 48-28. Five Jazz players finished in double figures, including Mehmet Okur who had a 20-point, seven-rebound night - his second straight game with at least 20 points.

"You don't want to play a physical team like that when you have a tough game the night before, especially coming in here," Hornets coach Byron Scott said. "That's why they're so good here in Utah. I mean, they play a physical brand of basketball."

Korver and Kirilenko poured in 15 and 13 points off the bench, respectively, as the Jazz shot 52 percent (40-of-77) from the floor on the night.

"Basketball was fun tonight," Harpring said. "It was one of those games where we played well together. We were passing the ball and guys were kind of feeding off of each other's energy. It's the way the game should be played."

New Orleans was fresh off a 116-105 win over the Western Conference-leading Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday, but the loss on the backend of the back-to-back dropped them to 2-2 on their four-game, Western Conference road swing. Utah now has a four-game home win streak.

"Right now, we're not in the playoffs where we're sitting right now," Williams said. "We've got a lot of work to do, a lot of catching up. These last two victories at home have been great and we've got to get two more."

Jarron Collins was the only active Jazz player not to score on the night.