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Eric Gay, Associated Press
Utah guard Deron Williams drives around a "defender" during the Skills Challenge, which was a part of All-Star Saturday night.

NEW ORLEANS — Point guard Deron Williams delivered to Utah in his third NBA season what John Stockton could not in a career that lasted nearly two decades.

A title.

Unfortunately for Williams and the Jazz, it's not an NBA championship.

But it was a win in the Skills Challenge, part of NBA All-Star Weekend's Saturday Night festivities.

Williams set a course record, finishing his final-round run in 25.5 seconds to unseat two-time defending champion Dwyane Wade of the Miami Heat. Two-time NBA MVP Steve Nash of the Phoenix Suns had the old mark of 25.8, set when he won in 2005.

"I was nervous coming into the competition, because all three of the guys had done the event before," said Williams, who beat Wade, New Jersey's Jason Kidd and Chris Paul of New Orleans on Saturday. "And I had to go first, too."

Williams and Paul advanced from the first round for a two-man final.

Williams made it through the course — layup, dribble around obstacles, chest pass into a circle, bounce pass, 3-pointer, outlet pass, dribble and another layup — flawlessly on his second try.

Paul stumbled on his second run, allowing Williams to celebrate a victory over the fellow NBA Draft Class of 2005 point to whom he is constantly compared.

"Yeah, of course it had to," Williams said when asked if it was fitting it came down to him to Paul. "It's a rivalry."

Williams, who actually is usually quite dismissive of the whole notion of a rivalry between him and good-friend Paul, even agreed to the joking suggestion that this once and for all settles the battle between the two.

"Oh, yeah," he said with a smile. "No — I was just out there having fun."

Williams pocketed $35,000 for his victory, with Paul getting $22,500 and the other two $9,000 each.

He also becomes the Jazz's fifth All-Star Saturday winner, joining two-time 3-point champ Jeff Hornacek, 1993 Shootout winner Jeff Malone and the 2000 2Ball tandem of Hornacek and Natalie Williams.

"No, no, no," Williams said when asked if he already spent the cash. "I put that away somewhere for a rainy day."


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