SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Deron Williams scored 23 points and dished out eight assists, Paul Millsap had 19 points, 15 rebounds and four assists and the Utah Jazz used balanced scoring and an efficient fast break to beat the New Jersey Nets 98-88 on Wednesday night.
All five Jazz starters were in double figures by early in the third quarter, with Al Jefferson adding 16 points and Andrei Kirilenko 15.
Raja Bell, back after missing one game with a groin injury, also scored 15 for Utah (8-4), including a key basket with two minutes remaining that put Utah ahead 93-86.
Anthony Morrow scored 24 points, Devin Harris added 19 and Brook Lopez 17 for New Jersey, which had a 57-44 advantage on the boards.
On a night when neither team shot the ball very well, the Jazz did a better job of pushing it up the court. Utah, which was just 1 of 12 from 3-point range, at one point held a 20-3 advantage on the break. The Jazz also blocked 10 shots.
Utah led 53-47 at halftime, and by as many as 13 points in the fourth quarter before the Nets (4-7) stormed back and pulled within five.
Just before Bell’s jumper Lopez had grabbed yet another offensive rebound, but was called for an offensive foul, and he fouled out with 3:32 remaining.
Utah lost one of its players earlier in the game when reserve C.J. Miles left midway through the second quarter with a back strain.
But it was the return of Bell that provided a spark. He played solid defense, something that was missing in Utah’s loss to Oklahoma City on Monday night.
That made the difference on a night when the Jazz shot just 40.2 percent, and the Nets a shade worse at 37.6 percent.
(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)