SALT LAKE CITY — Make that 0-4.
That’s Deron Williams’ record against his former team after his Brooklyn Nets were beaten by the Utah Jazz Saturday night at EnergySolutions Arena.
Williams came to town for the second time since being traded 25 months ago, hoping to shut up the Jazz fans that had been so rude to him in his first return to Utah last season.
In a story published Saturday in the New York Post, Williams didn’t hide his feelings about how it was “tough” to be booed last year by the same fans that loved him for five-and-a half seasons. He also said how he’d love to go in and “shut them up a little bit.’’
Williams, who was booed off and on throughout the game, had his best game yet in his four games against the Jazz with 21 points and 11 assists, but didn’t have enough help to get a win.
Afterwards, he was quite light-hearted about the unappreciative Jazz crowd, saying, “It wasn’t as bad as last year. Maybe next year I’ll get some boos and a couple of cheers.’’
He also said he had no animosity towards Utah or its fans.
“I mean, I had a great time in Utah and I don’t have anything bad to say about the fans,’’ he said. “They can react the way they want to react and think the way they want to think. I can’t really change that. I just got a lot of love for them.’’
Jazz fans had made Williams the bad guy in the drama that took place in February of 2011 after a reported confrontation between Williams and Jerry Sloan, a day before Sloan resigned. Then Williams was subsequently traded two weeks later.
With Sloan sitting in his usual seat of late in Section 6, Williams got off to a fast start, making his first three shots and helping the Nets to an early lead.
Williams received some boos in his pre-game introduction and the first time he touched the ball. The boos continued throughout the first quarter whenever he touched the ball, but gradually dissipated as the game went along.
After sitting out much of the second quarter, Williams elicited the biggest cheer of the night, or rather Gordon Hayward did, when Hayward blocked Williams’ layup try after a turnover. The crowd erupted, cheering the great play by the future Jazz star against the former Jazz star.
Williams complained to the officials, talked briefly with Hayward at midcourt and later revealed what he and Hayward discussed.
“He knew he held me with his off-hand,’’ he said. “It was a good block. I knew he was a good shot blocker — I should have pulled it out.’’Comment on this story
Williams also had nice things to say about his former teammate, saying, “Gordon’s cool. I like him a lot as a player. It’s fun to go up against him. He’s going to be a special player.’’
Because of the late game the night before in Denver, Williams hadn’t had much chance to see many friends and acquaintances from his days in Utah, although he greeted several people on the Jazz bench before and after the game. However, he said with the Nets not playing again until Wednesday night in Cleveland, he planned to “stay over” in Utah and go to his old church on Sunday.
He’s also looking forward to the next time he plays the Jazz.
“I haven’t won against the Jazz yet,’’ he said. “Hopefully next year’s the year.’’