That escape didn't happen, however, until Gerald Wallace's game-winning 3-point attempt and Reggie Evans' putback both clanged off the rim in the final seconds.
As for D-Will, he finished with 14 points on 5-for-12 shooting, five assists and three turnovers. Williams had a wild shot and the offensive foul in the final two minutes.
It was yet another subpar showing for the playmaker, who openly admits he's not the same player he was in Utah — in part because of nagging injuries, but also because he claimed to not have had as much talent surrounding him as he did with the Jazz. Williams, only shooting 39 percent this season, is also trying to adapt to a system with more isolation plays than the flex offense he ran under Sloan.
Hours before tipoff, Williams defended his pro-Utah comments that some took as being a slight to the Nets and coach Avery Johnson.
“There’s nothing to it. You asked me about Utah, my time in Utah. I’m not going to bad-mouth Utah. I had a great time in Utah. I loved the offense," Williams, who had his struggles with Sloan before the Hall of Famer resigned during the 2010-11 campaign, told media at Tuesday's shootaround.
"I said that we’ve had struggles on offense here (and) I haven’t felt as comfortable here, which I’ve said all year. It hasn’t changed. My stance hasn’t changed. I said that I can adapt to any offense and I’m working towards that.”
Williams will get his next chance to work toward a first victory against the Jazz when the Nets, who are 13-11 after an 11-4 start, visit Utah on March 30.
“I’m not going to get into it anymore, because it’s not benefiting anybody,” Williams said when pressed with more questions. “We’re a good team. We can be a good team. We just got to play better.”
For the Jazz, this was just the result they were looking for to begin a four-game pre-Christmas trip that continues tonight in Indiana before weekend games in Miami and Orlando.
"You can't win them all if you don't get the first one," Mo Williams said. "This is a good start."
NOTES: Twenty-two months later, Deron Williams didn't take the chance to bash on the Jazz for trading him. Last year, he even credited Kevin O'Connor for making a good business decision just because nobody knew what D-Will would do when his contract expired after 2011-12. "I understand what they were doing," Williams told reporters Monday. "It was smart on their point, because there was a possibility that I wouldn't have come back." Williams signed a five-year deal with the Nets this offseason. Favors on playing his old team: "It is over and done with now. I do not care. I felt more about it last year, but it is over with. You grow up and move on from it." Marvin Williams had his first double-double of the season with 11 points and 10 rebounds. Big Al had his 14th: 16 points, 11 boards.
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