Jazz burn Blazers, win seventh straight behind Williams, balanced attack

SALT LAKE CITY -- Deron Williams called it an easy night -- just pass the ball and whoever caught it was likely to score.

It's been that way lately for the Williams and the Utah Jazz, who increased their season-high winning streak to seven with a 118-105 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday night.

"I like it. I'd rather do this," said Williams, who had 13 points and 13 assists to help the Jazz beat the Blazers for the second time in a week.

Williams has been averaging 19 points this season -- second only to Carlos Boozer for the Jazz -- but Utah had plenty of other players scoring Wednesday night.

Mehmet Okur had a scored a season-high 28 points and had eight rebounds, and Andrei Kirilenko added 22 points, eight assists and six rebounds for Utah.

Paul Millsap had 12 points and eight rebounds, rookie Wesley Matthews had 16 points and C.J. Miles scored 10.

Every Utah player that took a shot made at least one as the Jazz made 42 of 67 shots for their highest shooting percentage this season. Kirilenko was 8 for 9 and Matthews made all six of his field-goal attempts.

"We passed the ball real well tonight," Utah coach Jerry Sloan said. "For the most part we passed it to guys that were open and we got some easy baskets."

Utah shot over 70 percent (24 for 34) in the second half and finished with 32 assists on 42 field goals. The Jazz beat the Trail Blazers for the second time in a week and improved to 3-0 in the Northwest Division rivalry this season.

Utah outscored Portland 62-38 in the paint and did it without Boozer, who missed his third straight game with a strained right calf.

"We weren't even close to stopping these guys," Portland coach Nate McMillan said. "It was poor defense all around. We didn't control the ball, which allowed them to get into the paint and then drop it for easy baskets."

LaMarcus Aldridge had 27 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Blazers, playing their eighth straight game without scoring leader Brandon Roy (right hamstring).

Martell Webster added 20 points, and Jerryd Bayless finished with 14 points, but the Blazers continued to struggle without Roy. Portland is 3-5 since Roy was injured on Jan. 20 against Philadelphia and has fallen to No. 8 in the Western Conference standings.

"We think about it every day," Aldridge said. "We know that every game is important and are trying to fight and get back up in the standings."

Utah was 24 for 34 in the second half and used an 8-1 run late in the fourth quarter to finally pull away from Portland.

The Blazers got to 97-90 on a jumper by Aldridge, then Utah was able to outrun Portland for a brief stretch that clinched it.

Williams started it with a a defensive rebound, then drove all the way down the court and dished it off at the last second to Matthews for a layup. Matthews followed with another layup, Kirilenko added a dunk and Okur hit a long jumper that gave the Jazz a 105-91 lead with 3:46 left.

Next up for Utah is Saturday against Denver, which leads the division and is the last team to beat the Jazz.

"We've been clicking. We figured out our identity," Matthews said. "We've had stretches where we haven't played as great, but unlike earlier in the season, we didn't let that get us down."

Game notes
About 20 members of the U.S. Olympic team got a standing ovation when they were introduced between the first two periods. The group posed for a picture at mid-court as a few fans started chanting "U-S-A! U-S-A!" ... The Jazz beat the Blazers 106-95 the week before in Portland. ... Juwan Howard had 10 rebounds for Portland.

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