SALT LAKE CITY — Perhaps he was still excited from the big victory by his favorite football team the day before, but Jazz forward Marvin Williams had one of his best games of the season Monday night in Utah’s 94-79 loss to Toronto.
Williams was one of the few Jazzmen who played well as he scored a season-high 23 points, surpassing his previous high of 19 at Dallas in November, and also pulled down a team-high eight rebounds while getting two of Utah’s four steals.
“I was just trying to compete,’’ Williams said. “We came out and got off to a great start and cut it to three, but they just made the plays down the stretch.’’
Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin singled out Williams for his play Monday night.
“He’s a true professional. He’s been great for us all year long, giving us whatever he has, and continues to come out there and help us win ballgames,’’ Corbin said. “He’s one of the key guys in the locker room, when things are going bad, to step up and continue to play.’’
NO GLOATING: Williams, who grew up in the Seattle area, has been a lifelong Seahawks fan, and he was understandably thrilled with his team’s 43-8 victory over Denver in the Super Bowl Sunday evening. He wore a Seahawks hat to Monday’s shootaround and tried not to rub it in to his teammates who rooted for the Broncos.
“I haven’t said much at all,’’ Williams said after Monday morning’s shootaround. “A lot of people are disappointed in the game that it was, but thankfully I came out on the better end of it.’’
Williams said the first Seahawks game he went to was in the late 1990s at the old Kingdome when Jon Kitna was the quarterback. He remembers how the Seahawks were getting beat badly and his father insisted they leave in the third quarter.
“He made me leave early,’’ Williams said. “I still give him a bad time about that.’’
FEW ASSISTS: One of the Jazz's problems Monday night was sharing the basketball. The Jazz finished with a season-low 10 assists, just half of their season average of 20.1.
However, Corbin didn’t blame the lack of assists on poor ball movement.
“It wasn’t the ball movement. We missed shots,’’ he said. “We had some great shots but missed some really good looks that we’ve been making. For the most part I thought we moved the ball pretty good. We just didn’t make shots.’’
Utah’s previous low for assists was 11 in a loss to Denver in November.
Toronto had 21 assists on 37 baskets Monday.
THOMAS AN ALL-STAR: The Jazz might have another player besides rookie Trey Burke, who is playing in the Rising Stars Challenge, spending All-Star weekend in New Orleans.
Malcolm Thomas, who joined the team last month off waivers from San Antonio, was one of 20 players selected by a vote of the NBA D-League’s 17 head coaches to play in the D-League All-Star game on the Saturday before the Feb. 16 NBA All-Star game.
However, if Thomas is still on Utah’s active roster that weekend, he won’t be able to play in New Orleans. In order to play in the game, Thomas must be on an active NBA D-League roster at the time of the D-League All-Star game, so the Jazz would have to send him down like they have with Rudy Gobert and Ian Clark this season.
Thomas becomes the fifth player in Jazz history to be named a D-League All-Star while a member of the Jazz, joining Lou Amundson (2007), Morris Almond (2008), Kyrylo Fesenko (2008) and Sundiata Gaines (2010). Both Amundson and Gaines were selected but did not play following their NBA call-ups to the Jazz.
The former San Diego State standout is one of five current NBA players selected to the 2014 NBA D-League All-Star game, joining fellow call-ups Manny Harris (L.A. Lakers) and Christopher Johnson (Boston Celtics), and D-League assignees Robert Covington and Isaiah Canaan (both on assignment from the Houston Rockets).
JAZZ NOTES: Derrick Favors missed his third straight game and fourth in his last six with a nagging hip injury. ... Jeremy Evans also sat out for the second straight game after taking a nasty fall in Friday night’s game against Golden State. ... Jazz reserve John Lucas played for Toronto last year, averaging 5.3 points in 63 games, but he didn’t get into Monday’s game. ... Raptor forward Terrence Ross defeated Utah’s Jeremy Evans in the All-Star Slam Dunk Contest last year. Ross scored a career-high 51 points against the Clippers last month, but had just five points Monday.
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