Williams dishes 20 assists as Jazz win eighth straightMar 2, 2009 - 5:55 AM OAKLAND, California (Ticker) -- Over the last month, the only team that has been able to beat the Utah Jazz is the Golden State Warriors. Doing it twice, however, was too tall an order.
Deron Williams dished out 20 assists as the Jazz avenged an earlier loss Sunday night, returning to the site of their only February defeat to upend the Golden State Warriors, 112-104.
In doing so, they increased their winning streak to eight games and have now won 11 of 12.
"We've been able to win some games," Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said. "We've been fortunate, we had a schedule at home; now we've got to get out and win some games on the road and if we're not tough enough to do that, then it's a long season. It's a long season anyway, but it'd be a lot longer if we don't make the playoffs."
As Utah has gotten back to full health, the team has surged up the Western Conference standings and has now moved to within three games of No. 2 San Antonio (39-19) and two of No. 3 Denver (39-21).
"If we keep winning, we keep moving up. That's how we have to look at it," Williams said. "We're not trying to catch one basketball team, we're just trying to win basketball games."
The only blemish on its record over the last 29 days was a 20-point setback at Golden State on February 8.
But the Jazz made up for it in this one - though the Warriors certainly didn't make it easy on them. They controlled the pace of play for much of the night, running up and down the floor against a Utah squad on the second leg of a back-to-back. After falling behind by seven at the break, Golden State stormed back in the third quarter, riding a 15-2 run to take a four-point lead.
"(The Warriors) want you to play their game, they want you to get into their tempo and I thought we played our best when we were getting out and running," Williams said.
Rookie Anthony Randolph scored six points during that stretch and Jamal Crawford capped the run with a mid-range jumper to make it 73-69. But the Jazz, tenacious as usual on the offensive glass, simply had too much firepower - even for the high-powered Warriors.
They took advantage of Golden State's 25 turnovers as star point guard Williams found more than enough scoring options to keep the Warriors' defenders off-balance.
"Turnovers beat us tonight," Warriors coach Don Nelson said. "I thought about half of them were unforced, trying to thread the needle. That was the way the game went. I thought we did OK for a long period of time except for the turnovers."
With less than four minutes left in the third, he found Paul Millsap and Ronnie Brewer cutting to the basket on consecutive possessions to pull Utah to within one.
At the 1:42 mark, he connected with his newly healthy target, Carlos Boozer, who muscled his way in for a go-ahead bucket to put the Jazz on top, 82-81.
Down the stretch, they kept the Warriors at bay without ever definitively taking control. Kyle Korver - who has found his shot of late - buried a 3-pointer to push the lead to seven early in the fourth. After Corey Maggette buried a three and Crawford hit from mid-range to cut the deficit to two, Brewer answered with a three-point play and Williams found Millsap for a dunk.
"He had a terrific game," Sloan said of Williams. "One big thing - he got three or four of those (assists) by pushing the ball. We had a little quicker team and we got the ball up on them (more) than what they expected."
The Warriors weren't finished, pulling back to within two just moments later. But when the Jazz responded this time, they didn't let their foes back in. Kirilenko and Millsap both finished strong at the hoop to push the lead to 105-99. Moments later, Williams drove inside and kicked out to Kirilenko at the top of the key for a 23-foot dagger.
Williams fell one short of his career high in assists despite struggling with his own shot, going 3-of-12 for just six points.
"My offensive game didn't feel too good today," Williams said. "Everything - driving to the basket, I was getting my shot blocked. ??My jumper didn't feel right so I just tried to give my teammates the ball, distribute the ball. We had a lot of fast break opportunities and my teammates finished well and hit shots for me tonight."
Mehmet Okur scored 17 of his 23 points in the first quarter and Brewer added 21, nine rebounds and six assists.
Maggette led the Warriors with 27 points off the bench while Randolph and Crawford added 20 apiece.
GOLDEN STATE 104 FINAL
Mar 1 11:27 PM
GOLDEN STATE 85 END, 3RD QTR
Mar 1 10:56 PM
GOLDEN STATE 56 HALFTIME
Mar 1 10:09 PM
GOLDEN STATE 29 END, 1ST QTR
Mar 1 9:37 PM
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