SALT LAKE CITY (AP)—After letting a nine-point lead slip to a halftime tie, the Utah Jazz responded with their best quarter in almost 17 years.
Williams, who missed 13 games with a sprained left ankle from the preseason, had nine assists in the third and then got to rest on the bench for the entire fourth as the Jazz reserves finished off the blowout.
“We felt like we didn’t close out that first half well. Coach let us hear about it a little bit,” said Williams, who also scored 13 points in his 27 minutes. “We just had a lot more energy in that second half, really in that third quarter.”
The Jazz outscored the Kings 44-17 in the third, going 16-for-19 from the floor and making 10 of 13 foul shots to take a 94-67 lead into the fourth.
C.J. Miles scored 16 of his 18 in the third, including a dunk off an alley-oop from Williams during a 3-on-none break as the Jazz blew open the game after letting the Kings tie it at 50 at halftime.
Utah’s 44 points in the third were six off the team record and the most by the Jazz in a period since they scored 46 in the second quarter against the Kings on Jan. 19, 1992—before Karl Malone and John Stockton were members of the Dream Team that won Olympic gold.
Williams was part of the U.S. gold medal team this year, but hasn’t been able to play much since spraining his ankle during a preseason game at Chicago on Oct. 18.
The Jazz had Williams for just the fifth time this season, but were without fellow Olympian Carlos Boozer, who missed his fifth straight game with a thigh injury. Williams was plenty for the Jazz in this one, leading Utah to 31 fast-break points.
“We just came out a little more focused,” Williams said.
Williams said his ankle felt OK after the game, but he wasn’t sure about whether he’d be able to play again when the Jazz hosted New Jersey on Saturday night.
“We just didn’t come out with the energy that we finished the half with. We made a run at the end of the half, then coming out in the third quarter, they stepped their game up a little bit,” Salmons said.
Spencer Hawes added 18 points for the Kings, who sent the Jazz to the foul line 34 times. Utah was 22-for-34 from the line while Sacramento went 9-for-12.
“Losing like that, you should be angry at somebody,” Kings coach Reggie Theus said. “That’s just being a competitor. We’ve got to get our attitude right.”
Utah coach Jerry Sloan said the Jazz went from exchanging baskets to trying to play defense in the third.
“We got some momentum because we got our bodies on them a little bit more, got a couple of steals and got in the open court,” Sloan said.
The Jazz opened the third on a 13-0 run, shutting out the Kings until Udrih scored with 7:50 left in the period to cut Utah’s lead to 63-52.
Utah continued with the blowout later in the period. Williams got the ball to lead a break with Miles and Ronnie Brewer at either side for the 3-on-none. Williams decided against an easy two points for himself and banked a pass off the backboard for Miles to complete the alley-oop and give an 82-62 lead with 2:43 left in the third.
Sloan griped a little about the showboating play after the game, but the fans enjoyed it.
“When you can get easy baskets, you’re bound to have fun,” Miles said. “When you can just dunk the ball, it’s just like playing in high school and summer leagues again when you can get that many dunks and that many layups.”
Jason Thompson made a shot to stop a 7-0 run for the Jazz, but Price followed with a steal he took in for a two-handed dunk that he pulled behind his head before slamming it down, then Miles made a steal in the lane at the Kings’ end and drove for a layup just before the buzzer that put Utah up 94-67 entering the fourth.
Brewer opened the fourth period with a three-point play and the rout continued.
: Francisco Garcia made his season debut for the Kings after missing the first 17 with a strained right calf. … Salmons scored 12 in the second, going 5-for-7 and making both his 3-pointers. … The Jazz outrebounded the Kings 45-37.