for this game

Williams bests Paul as Jazz win ninth straight

Feb 5, 2008 - 5:50 AM By Chris Bellamy PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

SALT LAKE CITY (Ticker) -- Chris Paul may have gotten the All-Star nod, but Deron Williams still has the upper hand on the floor.

For the seventh time in eight career meetings, Williams came out on top as the surging Utah Jazz routed Paul and the New Orleans Hornets, 110-88, on Monday night.

The two star point guards forever linked after being selected third and fourth in the 2005 draft went head-to-head as their clubs battled for position in the tight Western Conference.

"I look at it the same way I do anybody else. It was a tough game; it was definitely a big game for us just because of their record," Williams said. "But as far as going against (Paul), it's just another game for me."

Williams registered his eighth consecutive double-double, collecting 29 points and 11 assists for the Jazz, who won their ninth game in a row. Since slipping to .500 on December 29, Utah has won 15 of 17.

"It was a good win for us. They've been playing some of the best basketball in our league," Williams said. "They have the second-best record in the West, so it was big for us to come out and establish the tempo early. It was a great win."

From the start, Williams - who missed out on an All-Star selection for the second straight year - was the aggressor for the Jazz.

When they jumped out to an early lead, it was Williams leading the charge, handing out three assists and hitting a pair of long jumpers in the game's opening minutes.

When the Jazz turned a slight one-point edge into a blowout in the third quarter, it was Williams who provided the offensive lift.

At the 9:36 mark of the third, the third-year point guard blew past the Hornets' defense and hammered down a rare dunk as Utah opened up a 59-42 lead. A minute later, he buried a 3-pointer as the Jazz extended their lead to 20.

"Just so you all know, Deron put on a show tonight to let the league know, to let the coaches know, that he should be on the All-Star team," said teammate Carlos Boozer, Utah's lone representative on the All-Star roster this year.

When Utah got complacent after taking a 23-point lead and let New Orleans surge back in the fourth quarter, it was Williams who took the momentum back.

The Hornets went on a 15-3 run early in the fourth quarter, cutting their deficit to just 11.

But Williams answered in decisive fashion on his next two possessions, driving inside for a layup to halt the Hornets' momentum and coming back just moments later with a three-point play.

"I just saw the team slipping a little bit," Williams said. "We became a little lackadaisical and they were getting back in it. So I tried to assert myself and ended up scoring a couple points."

Williams shot 11-of-13 overall and scored 10 points in the fourth quarter as the Jazz withstood the Hornets, who dropped their third game in a row.

"The bottom line in the last couple of games is teams are playing harder than we are," Hornets coach Byron Scott said. "Utah is a more physical team. I thought they were just more physical than we were. They beat us up a little bit, and just played a lot better than we did."

Of course, Williams couldn't do it all by himself. He had the help of Utah's perimeter shooters as well.

In a rare display of perimeter aggressiveness from the Jazz, the team set a new franchise record with 14 3-pointers. Half of those came in the second quarter, as Kyle Korver hit four in a row at one point as the Jazz firmly took control.

"They just shot the ball extremely well ... Kyle Korver was unbelievable, the way he shot the ball," Paul said. "Mehmet Okur and Williams, they really spaced the court well. That's why they came away with the win."

Meanwhile, Paul was shadowed all night by Williams and the Jazz's suddenly stingy defense, and all but taken out of the game.

By the midway point of the third quarter, Paul already had picked up his fifth foul of the game and was on the bench after shooting just 3-of-11 from the floor. On the night, he had six points, six assists and five turnovers.

Ironically, the Hornets picked up steam with Paul's backup, Jannero Pargo, on the floor. Pargo scored a season-high 24 points to spark New Orleans off the bench.

"I think (Paul's foul trouble) was the key to the game because they're definitely a different team with him out," Williams said. "Jannero came in and did a great job of scoring the ball, but it's just a different look. They're a different team when he's not in, getting to the hole and passing. That was really important."

Boozer added 19 points and 17 boards and Korver had 20 points off the bench, including six 3-pointers for Utah.

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