SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Two point guards were plenty for the Utah
Jazz on Wednesday night.
"They did great tonight," said forward Matt Harpring, who
pulled down 10 rebounds for the Jazz. "They're young and
Lopez and Williams are sharing the point duties as starter
Carlos Arroyo recovers from a sprained left ankle. The Jazz
considered trying to bring in a veteran to help while Arroyo is
out, but decided against it and left the offense in the hands of
the two young guards who hadn't played an NBA game this season.
It looked like a good decision Wednesday. Williams was steady
after taking over when Lopez missed much of the second and third
quarters with foul trouble. Then Lopez returned and helped Utah
seal it and improve to 7-1 at home.
"I felt real comfortable, especially as the game went on. I had
to get into a rhythm," said Williams, who also had five assists
and topped his previous career-high scoring total by three points.
"In the fourth quarter we ran our offense and hit shots."
Andrei Kirilenko scored 19 of his 23 points in the second half
and had five blocks as the Jazz limited Houston's Yao Ming to six
points from the field. Yao made up for it by hitting 14 of 16 free
throws and pulling down 10 rebounds, but the Rockets could never
get their offense going consistently and finished 25-for-75 from
"We didn't make the shots that we normally make and that hurts
us, especially against a gritty, gritty team like Utah," said
Francis, who was 5-for-15.
Greg Ostertag pulled down nine rebounds for the Jazz, who
prevailed on a night both teams struggled with their shooting.
The Jazz were just 20-for-52 after three quarters, then made 13
of 24 in the final period as the Rockets continued to struggle.
"I thought our guys played better in the second half, and
seemed to do a better job trying to defend them," Jazz coach Jerry
Kirilenko scored 11 of the Jazz's first 17 points in the fourth.
Lopez then took over after Eric Piatkowski made a 3-pointer to cut
Utah's lead to 71-70.
Lopez hit a pair of 3-pointers with a layup through traffic in
between on an 8-1 Utah run in the final three minutes. Jim Jackson
cut the lead to 79-73 with a free throw for Houston, but Kirilenko
made a putback with about a minute left to put it away.
Williams had a career-best 26 minutes. His previous highs were
25 minutes and seven points in a blowout loss at Dallas in the
second game of the season.
Francis was booed loudly every time he touched the ball and
cheered when he was called for fouling Kirilenko on a dunk attempt.
... University of Utah football coach Urban Meyer, whose team won
the Mountain West Conference, received a loud ovation when he and
his daughter were introduced in the third quarter. ... Former Utah
players Scott Padgett and John Amaechi were returning to Salt Lake
City. Padgett didn't take a shot in his four minutes and Amaechi