Boozer, Williams quiet Warriors' crowd in Utah's 117-96 season opening win

Boozer, Williams quiet Warriors' crowd in Utah's 117-96 season opening win

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By GREG BEACHAM AP Sports Writer

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- Carlos Boozer and Deron Williams shouldn't expect invitations to Baron Davis' opulent birthday bash or Stephen Jackson's homecoming party.

The Utah Jazz stars have ruined every celebration they've attended in the Bay Area recently.

Boozer had 32 points and 15 rebounds, Williams added 24 points and the Jazz jumped right back into last season's playoff form with a 117-96 victory over the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday night.

Ronnie Brewer scored 18 points and Paul Millsap added 16 for the Jazz, who reached the Western Conference finals last spring with a five-game victory over Golden State in the second round. The defeat ended the eighth-seeded Warriors' unlikely playoff run and crushed the hopes of fans who waited 13 years for a team worth cheering.

"We know they wanted payback from us ending their season," said Williams, who also had eight assists. "We didn't try to get into a track race with them, because they would win that. We just kept it to our pace and drove them into the ground."

Five months later in both clubs' season opener, the Jazz still had too many of the qualities lacked by the flashy Warriors, whose raucous sellout crowd was quieted well before the final buzzer.

Boozer and Williams even managed to impress their notoriously hard-to-please coach.

"You know how hard it is to play in their building and how excited their fans are, so it was a good win in that respect," Jerry Sloan said. "I thought we played a lot better than I had originally anticipated. We have some size advantages, and Boozer was able to show his strength inside."

Utah scored relentlessly in the paint, outrebounded the Warriors 56-37 and constantly capitalized on Golden State's mistakes. The Jazz led through most of the final three quarters, coolly turning back Baron Davis' attempts to start a fourth-quarter rally.

Davis had 25 points and 10 assists for the Warriors, who ended a 13-year playoff drought and upset the top-seeded Dallas Mavericks last season before bowing out to the Jazz. Mickael Pietrus and Monta Ellis scored 17 points apiece, but the Warriors were outclassed on both ends of the court.

"They had their way with us," coach Don Nelson said. "They're big and strong at all five positions, and they bullied us around. ... We played one good quarter, and that was the end of us. We missed Jackson for sure, but I don't know if he was a game-breaker."

Golden State's hopes for another winning season are tempered by a nasty early schedule. Nelson knows the Warriors could be in for a slow start while Jackson is suspended during a seven-game opening stretch that features five opponents who won at least 50 games last season.

The Warriors' vocal swingman will be out until their trip to Toronto on Nov. 18 for the start of a five-game road trip. He pleaded guilty to a felony charge of criminal recklessness after firing a gun into the air outside an Indianapolis strip club.

"We have to be a scrappy team (without Jackson)," Davis said. "That's what made us successful. Guys have to step up. We're not too worried. We just have to go back to the drawing board. Last year, we lost our first game, too."

Kelenna Azubuike started in Jackson's spot, scoring 11 points.

Brewer, Utah's first-round pick in 2006, made a strong debut in his new job as the Jazz's starting shooting guard. He scored eight points in the third quarter as Utah repelled Golden State's final serious rally.

"He really played a great game," Boozer said. "He was playing hard on both ends, getting big baskets, and his defense got us rolling."

But as usual, the Jazz relied on Boozer and Williams, who recently were named permanent team captains by Sloan. Williams played tough defense on Davis and showed John Stockton-style tenacity with the ball, crashing to the court with regularity.

Boozer scored 18 points in the first half, and the Jazz ran off 10 straight points to start an 18-2 run early in the second quarter. Golden State trimmed the lead to six points early in the third, but Utah made a 17-7 run led by Boozer and Brewer.

Notes:@ Oracle Arena swayed for 10 seconds during a 5.6 earthquake centered in nearby San Jose, but most fans didn't seem to notice. ... Utah G Matt Harpring played eight minutes despite an ankle injury, scoring one point. ... Warriors rookie Marco Belinelli had six points in his NBA debut. Brandan Wright, the eighth overall pick acquired by Golden State in a trade that sent longtime Warriors G Jason Richardson to Charlotte, began the season on the inactive list -- and Nelson doesn't expect him to get off it any time soon. ... The clubs meet again Saturday night in Utah. The Jazz won't visit Oakland again this season.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.) APTV-10-31-07 0016MDT


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