Utah Jazz: Deron Williams nets a career-high 42 points in a classic win
Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News
SALT LAKE CITY — Carlos Boozer called it an "instant classic."
The power forward was talking about the Utah Jazz's wild and breath-taking 140-139 overtime victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder, and it was certainly that.
But Boozer just as well could have been describing the last made shot Tuesday night inside electrically charged EnergySolutions Arena.
Then again, Deron Williams' clutch jumper from the top of the key with 1.1 seconds remaining in the extra session wasn't just an instant classic.
It also capped a career-classic night for the All-Star point guard, who seemed to play with fire in his eyes throughout his NBA-best 42-point outing.
"I just wanted to be aggressive for the whole game," Williams said.
And was he ever.
Dissatisfied with his personal effort — aside from a big second quarter — against the Los Angeles Lakers in Utah's loss last Friday, Williams carried a chip on his shoulder into this one.
And when Williams brings that kind of attitude into a game, it often doesn't end up so well for opponents.
Williams came out strong in this important contest, which helped the Jazz take sole possession of second place in the Western Conference at 51-27.
He scored the Jazz's first two points on a strong drive, and quickly threw in eight of Utah's first 10 points.
Williams matched his average by halftime with 19 first-half points and scored 37 by the end of regulation.
"He tried to just be aggressive and put us on his back," Jazz small forward C.J. Miles said. "And he did a great job of doing that. He scored when he needed to score and passed when he needed to pass, and guys made big shots and he made big shots."
After the Jazz blew a late 13-point lead to the never-say-die Thunder, Williams almost ended the game and nearly surpassed his previous season-high of 38 points with a game-winning attempt at the end of regulation.
But Williams missed a 20-foot shot at being the hero at the end of the fourth quarter.
Williams, who dished out 10 assists and hit 14-of-23 shots, wasn't about to miss his second shot to win it for the Jazz.
That came at the end of overtime from just about the same exact spot, and only 3.9 seconds after Jeff Green put the Thunder up by one.
With a couple of lengthy OKC players charging in quickly, Williams calmly stopped his dribble at the top of the circle and unleashed a game-winning swish.
"You knew he wasn't going to miss two of 'em," Miles said.
It was sweet redemption for Williams, even if he felt like the fourth-quarter J had a better shot of going in.
"Yeah, I had to make up for that one," Williams said. "I thought that one was good. That one felt better than the last one."
The overtime winner, however, was obviously good enough.
"That's how much guts he has," Boozer added, "to come back and take the exact same shot and knock it down."
And knock the pesky Thunder down in the process.
"We knew the significance of this game just as they did," Williams said. "And it was a fun game to be a part of."
It was only the second 40-point game of Williams' career. His previous career-best was a 41-point outing in Dallas on Dec. 8, 2007.
That one, however, didn't have quite the exciting finish — or playoff implications — this instant classic did.
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