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Williams leads Jazz to win over Rockets

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HOUSTON (AP) -- Deron Williams scored 17 points and dished out 15 assists, Mehmet Okur scored 21 points and the Utah Jazz continued their midseason surge with a 104-95 win over the Houston Rockets on Tuesday night.

Paul Millsap scored 20 points and grabbed 12 rebounds, helping the Jazz win for the 14th time in 16 games. Utah finished with 30 assists to offset 21 turnovers.

Backup center David Andersen and Aaron Brooks scored 18 points apiece for Houston, which committed a season-high 24 turnovers. The Rockets shot better from 3-point range (42.3 percent) than they did from the field overall (40.5 percent).

The teams were tied at 82 at the 8-minute mark, and they had combined for 37 turnovers to that point.

Williams and Boozer returned from a rest for Utah, but Houston coach Rick Adelman stuck with his bench players for a few more minutes.

Andersen sank two 3-pointers a minute apart to give the Rockets a 93-90 lead. But Millsap scored inside and Kyle Korver hit a jumper to put Utah back in front.

Andrei Kirilenko intercepted a pass by Andersen near midcourt and raced for a dunk to give the Jazz a 96-93 lead with 2:08 left. Houston matched a season high with its 23rd turnover.

Brooks and Trevor Ariza missed potential tying 3-point tries in the last minute and Williams' free throws with 17.8 seconds left put it away.

The Rockets have lost six of their last eight home games, and seven of 10 overall.

The Jazz led by as many as 10 in the first quarter, hitting 10 of their first 13 shots. The Rockets sank three 3-pointers in the first eight minutes to stay close. They finished 11 for 26 from 3-point range in the game.

The Jazz missed their first seven shots of the second quarter, and 3-pointers by Ariza and Chase Budinger helped Houston build a 36-30 lead. The Rockets made eight of their first nine shots in the second quarter -- four of them 3-pointers -- with mostly reserves on the floor.

Houston went 5 for 6 from 3-point range in the second quarter and led 55-49 at the break. Williams delivered 10 of Utah's 18 first-half assists.

The Jazz opened the third quarter with a 16-7 run. Williams scored on a drive then fed Ronnie Brewer for a dunk to give Utah a 65-62 lead.

The teams gave away 13 combined turnovers in the first 10 minutes of the second half, and Houston retook the lead. Another Rockets turnover led to Ronnie Price's breakaway dunk, and Utah led 76-74 after three quarters.

NOTES: Williams reached double digits in assists for the ninth time against the Rockets. He had at least 10 assists in a first half for the fourth time this season. ... The Jazz have held eight of their last 11 opponents below 100 points. ... Houston's Garrett Temple scored five points in place of injured backup point guard Kyle Lowry (sprained ankle). ... Adelman says he knows as much -- or little -- as anyone else about rumored trades involving exiled guard Tracy McGrady. The Rockets have been trying to deal the seven-time All-Star since he was granted an indefinite leave from the team in December. Adelman joked that Houston could be acquiring LeBron James before Thursday's trading deadline, for all he knew. "I haven't heard anything," Adelman said with a smile. "I've tweeted him, but he hasn't tweeted me back."

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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Chris Duncan sports writer


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