They were at their best Wednesday night.
Williams matched his career high with 28 points and had 14
assists, Boozer had 28 points and 15 rebounds, and the Jazz broke
open a close game late in the third quarter to beat the
short-handed Los Angeles Clippers 105-86.
Williams, 10-of-18 from the field, scored all but six of his
points in the second half. Boozer shot 13-of-21.
"They're playing at an extremely high level. They're leading us
in a lot of ways," said teammate Derek Fisher, who played with
Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant -- an awfully good duo -- from
1996-2004 with the Los Angeles Lakers.
"They're our two studs right now," Utah's Jarron Collins said.
The game was the first for the Jazz since a 101-79 victory over
Dallas on Monday enabled Jerry Sloan to become the fifth coach in
NBA history with 1,000 career victories.
Utah has won four of five games and owns the league's best
record (17-5). Not bad for a team that hasn't made the playoffs
"I think we'll win some games as long as we stay healthy,"
Sloan said. "We were fortunate to have had a long run with John
(Stockton) and Karl (Malone) where we didn't have injuries, and as
soon as they left, we started having injuries."
Boozer is a prime example, having played in 84 games and missing
80 during the past two seasons.
He's healthy now, and most appreciative.
"Oh my goodness, that's an understatement," he said.
Boozer is averaging 22.6 points and 12.3 rebounds.
Regarding the Jazz and the chemistry they appear to have
developed, Boozer said: "The more you play with a group, the
better that team is going to be."
Williams, in his second NBA season, is averaging 17.3 points and
"You don't know what to expect when you come into the league,"
he said. "I'm a lot more confident this year. (Boozer) makes it
easy for me. I try to make it easy for him."
The Clippers announced before the game that coach Mike Dunleavy
had agreed to terms of a four-year, $22 million contract extension.
Dunleavy is in the final year of a four-year, $10 million deal.
He wasn't celebrating afterward.
"We just got beasted in the paint," Dunleavy said. "They're
big and strong at every position, and they out-toughed us. That
makes them kind of special. They shot the ball from distance and
that's an area we struggled in."
Los Angeles played without two of its top three scorers -- Sam
Cassell (injured left foot) and Corey Maggette (bruised left knee
and left Achilles' tendinitis). The Clippers have lost three of
their last four games, with the losses coming by a combined 70
"It's frustrating to face the top team in the league without
all your firepower, but if we gave the kind of effort they did, it
wouldn't have mattered," Brand said. "They outhustled us to loose
balls, to rebounds, got easy putbacks and easy points."
The Jazz scored the first nine points of the fourth quarter --
five by Williams and four by Boozer -- for an 84-68 lead. The
Clippers weren't closer than 11 points after that. Okur completed
the scoring with two 3-pointers.
Thomas scored five points during a 10-2 run to start the second
half, putting Los Angeles ahead 52-49. But with Williams scoring
nine points and Boozer adding eight, the Jazz outscored the
Clippers 20-8 for a 69-60 lead. It was 75-68 entering the final
The Jazz were 10-12 through 22 games last season, when they
missed the playoffs for the third straight year. ... The Clippers
(10-11) were 14-7 through 21 games last season and reached the
postseason for the first time in nine years. ... Boozer has 16
double-doubles this season. The Jazz are 15-1 when Boozer gets a
double-double. ... Williams has eight double-doubles after getting
only five last season. ... Brand leads the Clippers with 10
double-doubles. He had only four rebounds in this game. ...
Kirilenko blocked a shot in the third quarter, giving him at least
one in 23 straight games. ... By winning, the Jazz snapped a
four-game losing streak to the Clippers in Los Angeles.
The Celtics and coach Brad Stevens love the versatility of swingman Evan Turner, but might court other free agents before circling back to him.
Marc Stein says being offered the Lakers' head coaching job was too good of an opportunity to pass up for Luke Walton.
Steph Curry tells reporters he's optimistic he will be able to return to the Warriors before the initial two-week timetable he was given after spraining his MCL.