Williams leads Jazz past Blazers, 106-95
Williams scored 24 points and the Jazz scored 21 of the first 23 points and went to beat the Portland Trail Blazers 106-95 on Wednesday night.
“I thought it was our best start of the season by far, especially on the road to come out like that,” Williams said. “We just had a lot of energy. We attacked them like we were at home.”
Utah led by as many as 26 points during the first half. The Jazz won for the eighth time in nine games and took over second place in the Northwest Division.
“This was a big game for us, against a divisional rival, and I think we came out and played like it,” Williams said.
Utah shot 60.3 percent from the field, hitting 38 of 63 shots. Portland shot 36.3 percent (33 of 91).
The Jazz got layups or dunks on their first seven baskets and took a 21-2 lead six minutes into the game. Portland missed 15 of its first 16 shots, but a got a bit of a lift when Batum came off the bench to score nine points to cut Utah’s lead to 26-14.
The Jazz ran off 10 straight points and ended the first quarter with a 37-16 lead.
“There wasn’t much defense. They just dominated that quarter,” Portland coach Nate McMillan said. “They just attacked us and we had no answer for that. Offensively, we missed our shots and I thought that probably affected us on the defensive end.”
Utah continued to pour it on, with 15-6 run during the middle of the second quarter that gave the Jazz their largest lead of the first half at 59-33.
Utah shot 73 percent and led 63-46 at halftime.
Portland made an early run in the third quarter by scoring nine straight points to cut the Jazz lead to 68-57.
Utah took an 85-75 lead into the fourth quarter, but 6-0 run by Portland chopped the Jazz advantage in half at 89-84.
“We got off to a good start, but usually the law of averages will catch up with you and you expect them to come back. Fortunately, we were able to weather that,” Utah coach Jerry Sloan said.
Utah responded with back-to-back jumpers by Williams and Millsap to regain a double-digit lead and were never threatened again.
Notes: Carlos Boozer(notes), who scored 14 points, left the game early in the third quarter with a right calf strain and did not return. Boozer is averaging 19.4 points and 10.8 rebounds this season, both tops for Utah. The Jazz are averaging 111.7 points in their last nine games. Portland, celebrating 40 years as a franchise, wore throwback uniforms for Wednesday’s game.