Utah Jazz: Deron Williams leads high-scoring Jazz over Pistons
One great quarter is enough for victory
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — If they can play every quarter like they did the second period on Wednesday night, the Jazz should be fine for the rest of their road trip.
Remainder of the season, perhaps.
But if it's anything like the other three, things can be perilous indeed.
Deron Williams sensed just that after Utah beat Detroit 115-104 on Wednesday night at the Palace of Auburn Hills, using a 35-14 second-quarter surge to win their fourth straight and beat the Pistons for a 10th consecutive time.
"I thought we played well, but then I look at the box score and they outscored us in every quarter except for the second — and they had, almost, three 30-point quarters," Williams said.
"So, our defense still wasn't where we want it to be."
But, he added, "The second quarter was great. We played great basketball. We got a lot of stops, we shared the ball ... we got out and (ran) in transition. It was a pretty flawless quarter."
Williams played nearly half of it at the point for the 42-22 Jazz, with backup Ronnie Price filling in the rest. Together, they offered a period that was about as balanced as their night.
Three players from Utah — Williams, ex-Piston Mehmet Okur and sub Paul Millsap — shared team-high scoring honors with 18 points apiece. All five Jazz starters scored in double figures — rookie Wesley Matthews added 14 points; Carlos Boozer and Andrei Kirilenko 11 each — and Kyle Korver came off the bench for 14 as well.
Boozer had a game-high 12 rebounds for his 42nd double-double of the season, and Williams contributed a game-high 12 assists for his 33rd.
"We've got a really good chemistry, with everybody," Korver said. "It's not like, 'This guy is gonna get shots, this guy needs to score this many points.' We've got a really balanced team.
"The extra pass is everything right now," he added. "We're playing really good basketball.
"The second quarter, it felt like no one even dribbled. We were just pass, pass, pass, shot — and we were hitting them."
Korver made good on 4-for-5 from the field himself in the second, and finished 6-for-8, including 2-for-3 from 3-point range.
Four others — Kirilenko, Matthews, Millsap and Price — scored six points apiece in the decisive period.
Down by one heading into the quarter, Utah opened it with a 14-0 run highlighted by a Price dunk and led by double digits the rest of the way — including a game-high 20 at the half.
Good ball movement, Price suggested, was the key to it all.
"Deron (Williams) is getting in the lane and making passes, and guys are not just taking that first shot. They're making that extra pass," he said. "When you're in our offense and you make that extra pass, it opens up shots for everybody."
Detroit (22-42) did get to within 11 late while taking the third quarter, 31-24, and was within as few as 10 in the final minute.
"They did a great job really attacking us and putting us on our heels at the start of the second (half)," coach Jerry Sloan said, "and I thought they were gonna sneak up on us."
But by the time it was done, Utah — which opened a four-game trip with a 132-108 win at Chicago on Tuesday night — had its sixth straight game with 104 or more points.
Impressive, though not nearly enough for a certain someone.
"I'm not worried about the scoring," said Sloan, whose Jazz visit Milwaukee on Friday night. "I'm worried about the defense. We like to score. Our guys run the floor well.
"They try to pass the ball in situations pretty well. But the biggest thing is defensively. We let too many teams get on top of the basket."
NOTES: The Jazz are now 7-7 in the second game of a back-to-back set, 12-1 when all five starters score in double figures, 18-1 when scoring 110 or more points and 35-7 when scoring 100 or more. ... Boozer now has 166 double-doubles since the start of the 2006-07 season. Only Orlando's Dwight Howard, San Antonio's Tim Duncan and Phoenix's Steve Nash have more in that span. ... Detroit's absentees included guard Rodney Stuckey, who has passed all cardiac tests since passing out on the Pistons' bench during a game last Friday at Cleveland.
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