Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
It could have been a hockey game.
Because after a third period like the Jazz had in their 120-94 win over the Sacramento Kings on Friday night at sold-out EnergySolutions Arena, playing a fourth really wasn't necessary.
Tied 50-50 at halftime, Utah opened the third with a 13-0 run and wound up outscoring Sacramento 44-17 in the quarter their highest point production in a period since they had 46 against the Kings in January 1992.
"That was a big quarter for us," said point guard Deron Williams, who had 13 points to go with his game-high 15 assists joining both Mehmet Okur (20 points, 12 rebounds) and Paul Millsap (11 points, 11 boards) in the double-double department as the Jazz improved to 11-6 overall, 8-1 at home.
Five others Ronnie Brewer and C.J. Miles with 18 apiece, and Andrei Kirilenko, Kyle Korver and Ronnie Price, each of whom scored 12 off the bench also scored in double figures for the Jazz, who close a four-game homestand and a back-to-back set tonight vs. New Jersey.
"We felt like we didn't close out that first half well," Williams added. "Coach (Jerry Sloan) let us hear it a little bit. We just came out more focused. I tried to push the ball a little bit, get out on the break. We started off with a couple of easy baskets and our confidence just built from there."
Did it ever, in large part because of what Williams provided in just his second game since an earlier comeback from a sprained ankle was aborted two-plus weeks ago.
"Deron's back, and he's doing a good job creating open shots for us," said Okur, who started the pullaway Jazz run with two Williams-fed jumpers followed a few possessions later with a Wiliams-fed 3-pointer.
"Even though he's not 110 percent," Brewer added, "he's still sparking our team, still contributing, still helping us out, getting us in our offense and controlling the tempo."
Highlight of the quarter for Utah one in which the Jazz hit 16-of-19 from the field, an offensive explosion ignited largely by six steals, including two each by Miles and Okur had to be the sequence in which Sloan's club extended its advantage to 82-62.
Prompted by an un-credited Brewer steal, Williams who afterward said "I'm not dunking for a while" because of the ankle injury led a fastbreak that ended with him passing off the backboard to Miles for a dunk.
"He (Williams) told me he was gonna throw it when we were running," said Miles, who added Williams has been trying to make such a play for "about two-and-a-half years." "He said, 'C'mon, I'm gonna throw it,' so I kept running."
The showiness of it all may not have pleased Sloan, but it did reflect what he knew the Jazz needed.
"We got momentum because we got out and got our bodies on them a little more," said Sloan, who didn't like how the Jazz traded baskets and got pounded inside in the opening half. "Got a couple steals, and got in the open court."
"When we make a run, it starts on the defensive end," Brewer added. "Get stops, get steals, get deflections, and we get fastbreak points, layups, dunks."
By the time the third was done, Utah was up 94-67.
The Jazz whose previous season-high for points was 117 against Memphis last Wednesday pushed its lead to as many as 33 early in the fourth, and never led by fewer than 23 after that.
Miles had 16 of his 18 in the third alone, a period in which the Jazz finished six points shy of their 1982 franchise record for points in a quarter.
It also was the highest-scoring quarter in an NBA game this season, and the Jazz's highest-scoring third quarter since a 1976 game against San Antonio."We stepped it up on the defensive end and got it together," Williams said. "We just had a lot more energy in that second half, really in that third quarter."
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