Jazz Hand Slumping Nets Sixth Consecutive Loss

Jazz Hand Slumping Nets Sixth Consecutive Loss

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Deron Williams and an aggressive defense helped the Utah Jazz rebound in a big way.

Williams overcame two subpar games to score 20 points and lead the Utah Jazz to a 102-75 win over the reeling New Jersey Nets on Monday night.

"D-Wills is definitely the one who makes us go," said Ronnie Brewer, who had 14 points and five steals. "He finds me for layups and dunks when I get out and run. He makes it easy."

The Nets allowed Williams to drive the lane. He made 8 of 11 shots and had six assists.

"It feels good to get home and get the crowd behind us. We came out from the start and we're able to do what we wanted to. We were able to get out in transition and run and establish ourselves," Williams said.

Carlos Boozer scored 17 points to help the Jazz improve to 5-1 at home. Mehmet Okur added 14 points for Utah.

"We forgot about those two games we had on the road, and that's one of the good things about this team. We have a good sense of being able to forget our bad games and move forward," Boozer said.

Richard Jefferson scored 22 points and Bostjan Nachbar had 16 for the Nets, who lost their sixth straight game after starting the season 4-1.

The Jazz suffered their first back-to-back losses to Cleveland and Indiana last week and Williams made just seven of 25 shots. But the third-year point guard sparked the Jazz to a quick lead and they coasted much of the way.

Vince Carter, the Nets most reliable scorer, has missed the past five games with a sprained right ankle. His timetable to return is uncertain though he did join the team on this four-game Western Conference road trip. New Jersey has lost four games by 22 or more points this season.

"This was an unacceptable performance and I take responsibility. I'm in charge of the product out there and this is not gonna work," New Jersey coach Lawrence Frank said. "We didn't have any defensive energy but you gotta give Utah credit. They're the best system team in the league and they carved us up tonight."

Paul Millsap, who had nine points and 10 rebounds, scored on the first possession of the fourth quarter to stake Utah to its largest lead at 85-58.

Eddie Gill had not scored this season, but he had 10 consecutive points in the fourth quarter. His layup cut the deficit to 86-67. But most of the Jazz starters returned to the court and Williams sparked a 7-0 run to secure the victory.

The Jazz took an early lead and led by 15 points on Boozer's dunk midway through the second quarter. Jefferson scored nine straight points to bring New Jersey within seven 4 minutes later. Utah led 51-41 at halftime.

The Nets had won six of the past seven meetings with the Jazz, but the lowest-scoring team in the league with the highest rate of turnovers, was no match for Utah's aggressive defense.

"We're struggling right now and it is unfortunate because we have a good team," said Jefferson who has been the Nets leading scorer in all but one game.

Jason Kidd, who has been battling a cold, missed eight of nine field-goal attempts and finished with two points, eight assists and six turnovers.

"It was a good defensive effort for us tonight. We helped each other out, we got stops when we needed to and we forced them into tough shots," Williams said.

Utah had 15 steals, five by Brewer, which led to several easy baskets. The Jazz shot 52 percent and outscored New Jersey 42-28 in the paint. The Nets' 19 turnovers led to 20 Utah points.

Said Utah coach Jerry Sloan: "I just hope they realize that that is what we have to have every night we step out there, because I saw different energy than I saw the past two games and I think I have the right to expect that every night."

Game notes
Jazz reserve point guard Jason Hart missed the game to attend his grandmother's funeral in Los Angeles. Jason Collins started the first nine games at center for the Nets, but played just 10 scoreless minutes and never matched up against twin brother Jarron, who had six points. The Nets attempted 21 3-pointers but made only six. Nachbar's 16 points were a season high.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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