NEW YORK — Utah Jazz 4, Deron Williams 1.
For the first time since he was shipped off to New Jersey 2 1/2 years ago, Williams’ team earned a positive result against his old squad Tuesday night.
In a game that was competitive for less than a New York minute, the work-in-progress Jazz were blown out 104-88 by the $100 million Brooklyn Nets at $1 billion Barclays Center.
Asked if getting that first victory over Utah made the win even better, Williams admitted, "It definitely does." The victory was also Nets bench boss Jason Kidd's first as a head coach. He'd been suspended for a DUI when Brooklyn won last week.
Utah didn't come close to its first win.
“We just had a rough night,” Jazz power forward Derrick Favors said. “We couldn’t get into a rhythm.”
More disturbing and relevant to the current Jazz is the 2013-14 season’s scoreboard:
Opponents 4, Jazz 0.
“Losing hurts,” Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said. “It should hurt.”
By opening up with four consecutive losses, the Jazz matched the worst start in the Utah portion of franchise history. The 1979-80 team also lost its first four games before reaching the win column.
“We’ve just got to be mentally strong about it,” Favors said after only totaling six points and five rebounds against his first NBA team. “We’ve just got to move on to the next game and keep playing.”
The Jazz have their best chance of this road trip to pick up a victory Wednesday when they visit the 0-4 Boston Celtics.
“We’ve got to come fight and keep working and try to get better and win a game and feel good about ourselves so we can move from there,” Corbin said. “But it’s not just going to happen. We’ve got to make it happen.”
The Jazz didn’t show that desire and effort Tuesday.
Utah fell behind by as many as 26 points with a discombobulated offense while getting shredded apart on the interior by Nets big man Robin Lopez (27 points).
Not a good combo for a Utah team that had at least been competitive in its first three losses this season.
“It’s four losses for us in the first four games,” Corbin said. “But, you know what, nobody’s going to feel sorry for us.”
Least of all Williams, who was traded to the Nets in 2011 when the Jazz began this ongoing reconstruction process by acquiring Favors, two first-round picks (Enes Kanter and one that helped them trade for Trey Burke), Devin Harris and $3 million.
"It's good to finally beat them," Williams said. "It's a rebuilding year for them, but I'm happy to beat them."
Hampered this year by a nagging ankle injury, the two-time All-Star point guard reached double figures in scoring for the first time this season against the Jazz, who only have two players (Gordon Hayward and Jeremy Evans) remaining from the team he was on.
D-Will finished with 10 points and eight assists for the Nets, who improved to 2-2.
Another old Utah guy, Andrei Kirilenko, added six points and five rebounds.
But this game felt like it was already over when AK-47 was subbed in just eight minutes in.
Brooklyn, now featuring Grumpy Old Man Kevin Garnett, all-around standout Paul Pierce and a cast of other talented players, scored the first seven points. The Nets had a double-digit lead less than five minutes into the contest and took a 54-38 lead into the locker room.
“They locked in on the strong side. We struggled to get the ball on the weak side in the first half,” Corbin said. “Eventually
it caught up to us.”
The Jazz’s first seven possessions offered an indication that the visitors were in for a miserable outing. That clunker of a start: four missed jump shots, including a flat 3-point attempt by Jamaal Tinsley, two turnovers and a shot-clock violation.
Another example of the rough night by Utah: A three-quarters-court heave by Mike Harris at the end of the first half that barely hit the backboard wasn’t necessarily the Jazz’s worst shot of the night.
The Jazz shot 37.8 percent from the field, only hit 4 of 18 3-pointers and turned the ball over 20 times. On a positive note, Utah did improve in scoring, with 18, 20, 23 and 27 points in each progressive quarter.
Hayward led Utah in scoring with 22 points, while Kanter had 21 points, eight rebounds and seven turnovers. Rookie center Rudy Gobert had a career-best 11 boards and two blocked shots before fouling out in less than 16 minutes.
The biggest positive for short-handed Utah, which only had 10 players available to begin the season, was the fact that Brandon Rush played. The shooting guard hadn’t seen action since tearing the ACL in his left knee with the Warriors on Nov. 2, 2012.
Rush, who had surgery in January, ended with two fouls, two turnovers and one assist in 10 minutes. He didn’t experience immediate swelling and his hopeful he’ll be able to play Wednesday in Boston, perhaps getting even more than his limitation of five-minute stints.
Asked about his shot before the game, Rush smiled and said, “I don’t think you can lose the touch.” But he didn’t attempt a shot in his return, admitting that he was hesitant and passed up a couple of open looks.
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“Rusty. Real rusty. I was real nervous out there,” Rush said. “Once I get the feel for the game, practicing and playing more and catching the rhythm, I think I’ll be a lot better.”
The Jazz hope the same goes for them — all the better if the rhythm is found against winless Boston.
“They (are) looking for a win, too,” Favors said. “They’re going to come out ready, so we’ve got to come out ready and prepared to fight.”