Deron Williams looked beat as he sat on his chair in front of his locker Monday night, quietly answering questions.
Not beat as in defeated like his Jazz were to a superior San Antonio team. Rather he looked like he was totally worn out and ready to drop.
Williams had still another outstanding game Monday, following up on his three superb games already in the series, as he led all scorers with 27 points, while dishing out a game-high 10 assists.
But Williams clearly wasn't 100 percent Monday after missing the previous day's practice as well as the morning shootaround because of stomach problems and losing eight pounds in 24 hours.
He called it food poisoning the Jazz had said it was stomach flu whatever it was, it was enough to keep him from leading the Jazz to a series-tying victory.
"I've just got a little bug," Williams said. "Food poisoning ... I don't know what it was. I had two IV's this morning, lost a lot of fluids. I really didn't feel so well the whole game. I felt my team needed me and I wanted to be out there."
Despite being under the weather, Williams made many of the same magnificent plays he had made earlier in the series, faking his opponent out of position as he went the opposite direction and drove to the basket or sinking 15-foot jumpers from a variety of angles.
But he seemed to run out of gas in the fourth quarter when the Spurs outscored the Jazz by 11, leading to the 12-point victory. Williams, who went 11-for-21 on the night, sank just 1 of 5 shots in the fourth quarter, missed a free throw and committed a turnover with a soft pass with the Jazz trailing by just four points.
San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said his team tried to give Williams a different look in Game 4 after seeing him average more than 30 points in the first three games.
"The young man is just incredible he was slicing and dicing us," Popovich said. "We just gave him a couple of different looks, but I don't think it totally stopped him. But it helped us a little bit, maybe."
One of the key stats in the Jazz loss was turnovers. After averaging five fewer turnovers than the Spurs in the first three games, the Jazz committed 17 turnovers to 11 for San Antonio.
Williams, who had five turnovers on the night, acknowledged he had a few "uncharacteristic" turnovers.
"We had three or four possessions where we just threw the ball away," said Jazz coach Jerry Sloan. "They put pressure on us and we couldn't handle the situation very well."
Sloan said he was proud of the way Williams responded after being ill for a couple of days.
"He is a wonderful player," he said. "He's a very competitive guy and I am happy for him and for our team that we're still playing."Added Carlos Boozer, "I am so proud of him. He did a great job tonight, stepping up, hitting some big shots and continuing to play with that high level. What a performance when you are sick. He gave everything he had."
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