Utah Jazz 107 – New Jersey Nets 94
The Utah Jazz start off slowly, but then run away with the game behind bench strength and inside scoring. Deron Williams shoots himself into a poor game, and the lack of inside defense allowed for the Jazz getting whatever they want at the rim. Deron Williams finished with 16 points (off of 15 shots), 4 assists (to 4 turn overs), and countless unnecessary boos from his former home crowd in 29 minutes of action. This was, for three quarters at least, the most uncomfortable blowout win in a long time. Not because the other team was clearly over-matched, and not because the other team had something like only 7 guys healthy. This game was uncomfortable to watch because a) so many former Jazz guys were on the other team (and you never want to see your guys sad on the bench), and b) for the vast majority of this game the Energy Solutions Arena booed Deron Williams like he was a life-long enemy of our franchise. He’s not a Jazz-killer like Kobe Bryant, or Michael Jordan, or Manu Ginobili. He’s a guy we traded away for good players and a bright future. It would be like booing Adrian Dantley, in a way.
Anyway the game was close early, however the Jazz major strength (their depth) became a problem for the Nets, who played last night and aren’t very deep themselves. Kris Humphries had yet another double double (14 and 10) off of stellar shooting. He had 5 offensive rebounds. As a team the Nets didn’t get much else beyond what those two brought, and shot a combined 39.3 fg%. Mehmet Okur had a luke warm showing of 9 points off of 7 shots (missing all two three point attempts), and 6 rebounds, 2 assists, and 1 block. Sundiata Gaines had an okay night, and DeShawn Stevenson didn’t do much of anything.
On the Jazz side of the ball, they made 34 shots, helped by 21 assists. While the Nets went to the line more, the Jazz tightened things up there and shot 84.2 ft%. Five players finished in double figures: Al Jefferson had 20 points (9/16 shooting), Paul Millsap had another double double (18/12, with 4 steals and 3 assists), C.J. Miles had 15, Raja Bell had 12, and Gordon Hayward finished with 10.
It was a bounce back win after the devastating loss to the Los Angeles Lakers. However, the Jazz will not have time to savor this win as they play the Denver Nuggets in Denver tomorrow night.