Williams returns, leads Jazz past Mavericks
In the teams’ last meeting on Nov. 3 in Dallas, Dirk Nowitzki(notes) scored 29 of his 40 points in the fourth quarter as the Mavericks rallied from a 16-point deficit in the final 8 minutes for a 96-85 victory.
Boozer and his teammates made sure there would be no repeat.
“As soon as the third quarter was over, we said, ‘Remember what happened last time,’ and we moved forward,” Boozer said. “We brought it up so it didn’t happen again. We played great the whole game, got out to a big lead, and we kept it this time.”
Utah never allowed its lead to fall below 13 points in the game’s last 21 minutes.
Williams, a former Dallas-area high school star, missed the previous two games because of a bruised right wrist.
The wrist tightened up in the fourth quarter and Williams failed to score down the stretch. But the Jazz stayed aggressive, with Boozer and Kyle Korver(notes) contributing 10 points apiece in the final quarter.
Coach Jerry Sloan wasn’t sure if Williams would be available until just before warmups, and Williams came through with 41 minutes of playing time, running the offense and going 3 for 7 from 3-point range.
“We definitely remembered that last game, remembered what they did to us,” Williams said. “We’ve blown leads here a couple of times, so we wanted to keep executing and keep doing the things that got us the lead and I think we did a better job of doing that today.”
Nowitzki finished with 29 points, but only 10 in the fourth quarter.
“I think we did a good job on him,” Boozer said. “We made him work.”
The Mavericks played without forwards Josh Howard(notes) and Drew Gooden(notes). Howard sustained a left thigh contusion Friday against San Antonio, while Gooden sprained his right ring finger and needed four stitches to close a cut on his chin in the same game.
“It hurts, but you’ve got to be able to win with the guys available,” Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said. “No excuses there.”
Both teams were in the second half of back-to-backs. Dallas won 112-103 at San Antonio on Friday night, while Utah lost at Memphis, 91-89.
Utah took control with 18-4 first-half run, moving from an 18-all tie to a 36-22 edge midway through the second quarter.
The Jazz held a 50-40 halftime advantage, then opened the third quarter with an 13-3 spurt, including a pair of 3-pointers by Williams for a 63-43 lead. Utah carried an 83-62 advantage into the fourth quarter.
NOTES: According to media reports, the Mavericks are set to reacquire F Eduardo Najera(notes) in a trade with the New Jersey Nets. Dallas would send F Kris Humphries(notes) and Shawne Williams(notes) to New Jersey. The trade can’t be finalized until Monday, when the league office reopens from the weekend break. Najera played for Dallas from 2000-04. …The Mavericks announced a sellout of 19,922, but there were some empty seats because of the Eagles-Cowboys playoff game. At halftime, fans cheered as Cowboys highlights were shown on the big screen.