Jazz gain big-time revenge against ThunderJan 31, 2009 - 5:19 AM By Tony Pizza PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer
SALT LAKE CITY (Ticker) -- The Utah Jazz gave the Oklahoma City Thunder the big payback on Friday.
Having been whipped by 21 points on January 14, the Jazz spanked the Thunder, 110-90, behind Deron Williams' 20th double-double of the season.
The victory snapped a four-game losing streak for Utah.
"That's the type of game we've got to have from everybody," Williams said. "It's just that everybody's energy was up. I think we fed off each other."
After a tight first quarter, Utah erupted for a 36-25 advantage in the second quarter to take control. Williams had 13 points and nine assists before intermission en route to a 24-point, 12-assist effort.
"I think (Williams) should have been an All-Star," said Thunder forward Kevin Durant, who scored 29 points. "He's a motivator for this team, and they have a great team."
Utah blew open the game with a 13-2 run that started with Brevin Knight's assist to Matt Harpring with 9:33 remaining the first half. After Mehmet Okur, who scored 20 points, capped the run with a four-foot jump hook off Williams' dish, Utah's lead had grown to 45-32.
"It doesn't make any difference who you play, what circumstances are, because they beat us over there," Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said. "That was a tough loss, but that's basketball. We had to make sure we tried to win the ballgame tonight, and I thought our guys went out early in the game and tried to do that."
The Jazz didn't miss a beat after the break, going on a 13-0 run for an 84-60 advantage, effectively turning out the lights on the Thunder. The beat went on and at the end of three quarters Utah led, 95-75, and extended garbage time ensued.
"They came out pretty hard, and we didn't match them," Durant said. "I think we did a better job in the fourth quarter, playing the game, playing hard, and knocking it down on the defensive end, but they have a lot of weapons and they played well tonight."
Utah broke its season-long losing streak doing what it does best - pass the ball. The Jazz had 32 assists on 44 baskets and all five starters scored in double figures for just the fourth time this season. Utah currently leads the NBA in assists with 24.7 per game. The Jazz's season high is 35, which it accomplished against Houston on December 27.
"We're a good team when we pass the ball, when we share the ball and make extra passes," Williams said. "That's what happened tonight. There were a lot of guys passing on good shots to get better ones."
Paul Millsap tied his career high with seven assists and scored 16 points but was one rebound shy of a double-double. It was just the fourth time he has failed to hit double figures in two categories since taking over the starting role for the injured Carlos Boozer on November 19.
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