Michael Brandy, Deseret Morning News
Utah's Mehmet Okur (13) and Ronnie Price (17) try to take away a rebound from New Orleans' Melvin Ely in Monday night's game.

He said he was going to New Orleans anyway, to attend a players meeting.

Now, Jazz point guard Deron Williams — who was not selected to play in the Feb. 17 NBA All-Star Game — will have some work to do while he's in the Big Easy.

Williams on Monday was named to an entrant in the Skills Challenge, one of several All-Star Saturday Night events, including a 3-point shootout and the annual slam-dunk competition.

Williams will be joined in the Feb. 16 event by three All-Star Game participants: New Jersey's Jason Kidd, Miami's Dwyane Wade and Chris Paul of New Orleans.

"It's gonna be fun," Williams said after the Jazz's win over New Orleans on Monday night. "Some good company."

The challenge has players competing in a two-round timed obstacle course, consisting of dribbling, passing and shooting stations. The top two first-round finishers advance to the finals in an event that is included in TNT's live cable-television coverage.

Wade is the contest's two-time defending champion.

"He's not gonna win this year," Williams said.


"No," laughed Williams, who after scoring a game-high 29 points and dishing a game-high 11 assists against Paul and the Hornets on Monday has eight straight double-doubles, 12 in his last 13 games and 27 for the season. "I'm nervous about that, man."

Williams, meanwhile, still holds out a sliver of hope for being named to the West Conference team, as an injury replacement.

"I'd still be honored, regardless," he said.

QUESTIONABLE TECHNICAL: The Jazz's Ronnie Brewer was called for a technical foul in the third quarter, but don't be surprised if the fine for this one gets rescinded by the NBA.

"I went to the basket, and he (Paul) went to go foul me, and I fell, and he still was coming on top of me, so I held him off me," Brewer said. "And (a referee) was like, 'Oh, you pushed him off you.' I said, 'He was gonna fall on my head.'"

HEALTH MATTERS: Usual starting small forward Andrei Kirilenko did not dress Monday due to flu-like symptoms, so reserve swingman C.J. Miles opened in his place.

It was the fifth start of the season for Miles, who had eight points and shot 3-of-6 from the field in 17 minutes. And it was the fifth game missed by Kirilenko, whose string of five straight games scoring in double figures came to a close with his two-point night Saturday in Memphis.

Meanwhile, Jazz backup guard Jason Hart (bulging disc; lower-back inflammation) missed a sixth game.

SLOAN FUNDRAISER: The Bobbye and Jerry Sloan Hand-in-Hand Foundation on Monday announced that its second annual fundraising dinner will be held April 5 at LaCaille Restaurant in Sandy, with a silent auction and reception kicking off the event at 6 p.m.

The foundation was founded to honor the Jazz coach's late wife, Bobbye.

The fundraiser, with a theme of "Mardi Gras in the Mountains," will feature local celebrities acting as waiters, including Sloan and several Jazz players, along with a silent auction and a live auction.

Last year's event raised just under $60,000, and this year's goal is to surpass that amount. Beneficiaries include Navajo Santa and Community Nursing Services.

Individual tickets are $150 per person, or $1,250 for a table of 10. Seating is limited. Corporate sponsorship packages also are available.

To order tickets, send a check or money order to: Hand-in-Hand Foundation Celebrity Waiter Dinner; 4760 South Highland Drive, Box 213; Salt Lake City, UT; 84117.