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Utah Jazz romp past Pacers for 7th straight victory

Published: Wednesday, Dec. 1 2010 11:42 p.m. MST

Jazz-Pacers boxscore

SALT LAKE CITY — It had somewhat of a thrilling Hoosiers-like ending.

But almost everything else Wednesday night at EnergySolutions Arena was all Beehive State basketball at its best.

Even, that is, the thrilling Hoosiers-like ending.

In one of their most dominant performances of the season, the Utah Jazz improved their winning streak to seven straight with a commanding 110-88 victory over the Indiana Pacers.

This one was long over before Gordon Hayward, the pride and joy of Indianapolis-based Butler University and Brownsburg, Ind., brought the crowd of 18,732 to its feet when he sank a 3-pointer to beat the shot clock with 13.1 seconds remaining.

That just added one more element of excellence and excitement to the 15-5 Jazz's strong showing.

Best part for the Jazz?

Even better, perhaps, than Hayward's long ball against his favorite team growing up, Raja Bell blocking Darren Collison's shot, all five starters and C.J. Miles scoring in double figures again or a resounding rebounding effort?

No big comeback was needed in this one.

The Jazz, for the first time this season, didn't even trail for even a second of this blowout.

That's why Deron Williams, who had a stellar outing with 24 points, 16 assists and zero turnovers, prefers this win — Utah's largest margin of the season — and the Jazz's 109-88 victory over Milwaukee on Monday over the crazy comebacks.

"Circle those," the All-Star point guard said of the Jazz's riveting rallies. "But I like these last couple of ones better where we haven't got down. We actually had some good first halves."

Though it ran out of steam late on, the improved 9-8 Indiana team pushed Utah in the second half and made a game out of it for a few minutes.

But the Jazz put the pressure on the Pacers early on by storming out to a 35-17 first-quarter lead thanks in large part to a nine-point, nine-assist opening period by Williams.

"He has done a terrific job," Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said of Williams' recent stellar play. "I think he has really given a lot of confidence to his teammates in the process and that makes a huge difference."

Center Al Jefferson had another double-double for the Jazz, finishing with 17 points and 10 rebounds with three assists in a tough match-up with up-and-comer Roy Hibbert.

Andrei Kirilenko added 18 points, seven rebounds and two steals; Paul Millsap chipped in 16 points, eight boards and two steals; and Raja Bell contributed 10 points, three rebounds, two assists and two steals for the Jazz, who are now 3-0 when all five starters hit double figures in scoring.

Indiana chipped away at Utah's early 19-point lead, even pulling within three early in the second half after trailing 54-46 at halftime.

But the Jazz overpowered the Pacers by outscoring them 26-13 in the final 8:25 of the third quarter. Utah gradually increased its lead to a game-high 25 on Hayward's late three.

"Maybe we haven't finished the first half well," Williams said. "But we've come back in the second half and blown it back open."

Sure enough, Utah continued its strong second-half trend by outscoring Indiana 56-42. The Jazz have averaged 11-plus more points than their opponents after halftime in their season-high winning streak.

The Jazz also had one of their strongest rebounding games of the season, winning the battle of the boards over 7-foot-2 Roy Hibbert & Co. 46-32 overall. Utah finished with a season-best 19 offensive rebounds, leading to 19 second-chance points (compared to seven and 11, respectively, for Indiana).

NOTES: Backup center Francisco Elson did not return after halftime because of an inner ear problem. But he is probable for Friday's game against Dallas. ... The Jazz improved their record to 8-0 against the Eastern Conference.. ... Indiana's 17-point first quarter matched the lowest opening period point total for a Jazz opponent this year. Utah, however, lost to Golden State the last time that happened.

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