SALT LAKE CITY (AP)—Devin Harris seemed to have plenty of room in the lane for layup after layup.
And the few times the Utah Jazz tried to shut it down for Harris and the Nets, he either drew a foul or passed it back out to a teammate for an easy shot.
Harris had 34 points and six assists and the Nets beat the Jazz 105-88 on Saturday night, giving New Jersey its fourth win in five games.
“It’s what I do best: Attacking the basket, getting to the lane and creating some havoc,” said Harris, who also had three steals. “I was able to get some shots going early, it kind of got me into a rhythm and it carried on into the second half.”
The Nets shot 52 percent (40-for-77) and forced the Jazz into 19 turnovers while improving to 2-1 on a four-game trip.
One night after the Jazz scored 44 in the third quarter against Sacramento, Utah had just 16 points in the third on Saturday and scored only 37 in the second half against the Nets’ tighter defense.
“If they’re not having a great game it doesn’t mean that we need to play at their level,” said Harris, who was four points off his career best.
The Nets outrebounded the Jazz, outscored them inside and prevented Utah’s fast break from getting going.
“Against Utah, if you’re not the instigator, you don’t have a shot,” Nets coach Lawrence Frank said. “You’ve got to earn that victory and our guys earned it.”
Utah was without All-Star forward Carlos Boozer (thigh) for the sixth straight game and lost Andrei Kirilenko to an ankle injury in the second quarter. Without the pesky Kirilenko disrupting the Nets’ offense, New Jersey moved the ball around enough to get easy shots and outplayed the Jazz.
Williams is still recovering from a preseason ankle sprain and was playing in just his fifth game of the season. He also played Friday night when the Jazz had a much easier time in a 120-94 win over the Kings.
Coach Jerry Sloan gave his team Saturday morning off instead of holding the usual game-day shootaround and after the game questioned his own decision.
The Jazz had four games at home this week and went just 2-2.
“Our schedule is so bananas, something like this shouldn’t make any difference. It’s all on us. We just didn’t come out and play well tonight,” said Kyle Korver, who had 11 points for the Jazz. “It’s one of those nights where we didn’t have it going and they got it cooking.”
Paul Millsap led the Jazz with 20 points and 10 rebounds. Williams had 10 points and 13 assists and Mehmet Okur had 10 points and 11 rebounds as three Utah starters had double-doubles, but the bench contributed just 22 points and 11 rebounds.
The Nets led 59-51 at halftime after going 22-for-39 in the first half.
“That’s a cocktail for failure right away,” Sloan said. “I thought somewhere along the line we’d get some energy, but they just outplayed us.”
The Jazz were booed at the end of the third quarter, trailing 83-67 on Carter’s 3-pointer with 22 seconds left. The Jazz were sloppy all period and shot 6-for-21 and were outrebounded 17-11 as the Nets outscored the Jazz 24-16.
C.J. Miles hit a 3-pointer to cut the lead to 67-60 with 7:49 left in the third, but Yi answered with a 3 and Simmons followed with a jumper to start a 16-5 run that just about put the game away for the Nets.
Stromile Swift made his season debut for the Nets after missing the first 14 games because of a sore lower back. … Utah F Matt Harpring was out with a strained lower is scheduled for an MRI. … X-rays on Kirilenko’s ankle showed no breaks or tearing. … The Nets are 4-4 in their last eight visits to Utah.