SALT LAKE CITY — A fan-reaction evolution took place inside of EnergySolutions Arena on Saturday night.
Just by showing up, Deron Williams gave some still-bitter spectators a reason to boo.
Randy Foye, on the other hot hand, gave all Utah Jazz fans a reason to cheer.
As the night progressed, those exultations of adulation were far louder than the shouts of scorn.
The cheers were well-earned — for Foye and the suddenly red-hot Jazz.
Foye hit a record-tying 8 of 9 3-pointers and scored 26 points to help the 18,008 fans go bonkers — instead of booing — as the Jazz beat Brooklyn 116-107.
The shooting guard's big night — along with 20-point efforts from Al Jefferson and Mo Williams — allowed the Jazz (38-36) to keep their grasp on the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference with their fourth consecutive win.
"Ah, man. Honestly, it felt like a video game, really to see him shoot them shots and make them," Jazz center Al Jefferson said. "One shot he took like six feet behind the 3-point line. Wow. He was just on one night. It was good to see him."
Foye entered cheat mode in the third quarter, hitting three triples in a row to put the Jazz ahead for good at 74-65.
Coincidentally, that hot streak came just after the Jazz honored former 3-point specialist Mehmet Okur during a timeout break.
It wasn't the end, either.
Foye finished with five threes in the third quarter alone, tying a franchise record. And he became the second Jazz player with eight treys in a game, joining assistant coach Jeff Hornacek, who did it in 1994 against Seattle.
"I can't even explain the feeling. It feels like your body is numb," Foye said. "You are just out there in your own little world. Once you touch the ball and get an open look, it's like throwing a rock in the ocean."
Foye wasn't the only Jazz player to make ripples in the water.
In continuing their reinvigorated surge, Utah scored 31 points or more in three quarters. The Jazz hit 11 of their first 13 shots and cooled down to only shoot a sizzling 55.6 percent from the field for the game.
It was the second night in a row the Jazz had three players go for 20 or more. Not surprisingly, it was the second straight night Utah won going away, too.
So much for the team that floundered through the end of February and for much of March, losing 11 of 14 games.
"To come back after the win last night in Portland, traveling back to understand where we are this time of year and all that's involved in that, to come out with the focus that these guys had at the beginning of the game, it's pleasing to see," Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said.
And this was another Jazz game with multiple contributors.
Marvin Williams had a couple of off-balanced heaves during the Jazz's stretch in which they built a 16-point lead and finished with 14 points. Backup big man Derrick Favors punished his old team with 13 points, nine rebounds and three steals. Gordon Hayward contributed eight points, six assists, three steals and three blocked shots, including one that Jazz fans particularly loved — a swat of a D-Will layup attempt.
Remember that fastball Williams threw at Hayward as a rookie?
So do many Jazz fans, who thought that was a nice retribution play.
Williams' other buddy, Paul Millsap, had one of his more interesting games with nine points, six rebounds and, get this, a career-high nine assists.
And the Jazz needed about all of that to outpace the Nets, who have been playing quite well thanks to Williams' stellar play of late.
The former Jazz point guard, met with loud boos about every time he touched the ball, finished with 21 points and 11 assists for the Nets (42-31).
Brooklyn even got a big 27-point effort from Brook Lopez and 16 rebounds from Reggie Evans.
But it wasn't enough to keep Williams from falling to 0-4 against Utah since being traded to the Nets just over two years ago.
Before the game, Williams told New York media that he was bugged by the boos last year when he returned for the first time after the shocking deal of 2011 when Utah sent him to New Jersey for Favors, Devin Harris, two first-round picks and $3 million.
“But it is what it is. It’s part of the game," he added. "That’s how they feel. It don’t bother me. It’d be great to go in there and get a win and shut them up a little bit.”
Maybe next year.
Unless Foye comes back to foil his plans again.
"Yeah, he did. He just got hot," Williams said. "A couple of them we let him loose in transition and once he started feeling it, he was pulling from three-four feet behind the line. He just had a heck of a game tonight."
And his reunion with Utah? "It wasn't as bad as last year. It's getting better," Williams said of the booing. "Maybe next year I'll get some boos, maybe a couple of cheers. It's good. No animosity. I had a great time in Utah. I don't have anything bad to say about the fans. I've just got a lot of love for them."9 comments on this story
And Jazz fans? They had a lot of love for their current guard, not the old one who led them to the 2007 Western Conference Finals but who still gets blamed by some for Hall of Fame coach Jerry Sloan's stunning midseason resignation in 2011.
"They (Jazz) play really well in this building, that's the main thing," Williams said. "And Foye went nuts in the third quarter and we just never fully recovered. You get down to a Jazz team in this building by 20 (16), it's really hard to come back. I've been on the other side, so I know."
Of course, that's back when he got cheers instead of jeers from Jazz fans.