The Jazz played well enough to beat the Washington Wizards 103-88 on Tuesday night, but knew they got away with mistakes that would have cost them against better teams.
"I don't think it was our best effort, but we did what we had to do," said Williams, who had 12 points and eight assists.
After winning 12 straight, the Jazz had lost the final three games of a five-game road trip and couldn't afford to slip up against the hapless Wizards, who have the second-worst record in the NBA.
"It was just important for us to get this one -- just for our confidence," Williams said. "We had three tough losses on the road and we were struggling."
Ronnie Brewer scored 13 despite playing only the second and fourth quarters as punishment for oversleeping and missing Tuesday morning's shootaround. Kyle Korver added 15 points on his 28th birthday as seven Utah players scored in double figures.
"I thought in the first half our defense was actually pretty solid. In the second half they wore us down and that ends up being the story of the game," Washington coach Ed Tapscott said. "It's hard to come back against this team. A lesson learned."
Mehmet Okur scored 13 points and grabbed six rebounds and Andrei Kirilenko and Paul Millsap scored 10 points each for Utah, which finished 41-of-81. Korver went 6-for-9 from the floor and Brewer finished 6-for-10 and had five assists for the Jazz, who won their 12th straight home game.
"I didn't think we played particularly well tonight," Korver said. "We finally got some stops and we were able to get out and run a little bit."
The losing streak knocked Utah to No. 7 in the Western Conference playoff race and out of the Northwest Division lead. With 14 regular-season games remaining, the Jazz can put themselves anywhere from No. 2 in the West to out of the playoffs completely.
"That's one of the things you always have to be concerned about is are the playoffs important enough for you to go after it?" Utah coach Jerry Sloan said. "We can talk about it all we want, but sometimes our effort doesn't look like that."
Utah was playing at home for the first time since March 6 and was sluggish through the first half while taking a 46-36 lead. Utah had a little more life in the third quarter as Williams sparked the offense and the Jazz went 12-for-21 from the floor.
"It wasn't the prettiest game. It was a little ugly," Boozer said. "For us, we'll take a win after a three-game slide."
Utah used a 7-0 run to pull away early, then really got going after a brief confrontation between Williams and Dixon in front of the Utah bench.
Dixon caught Williams up high with a foul during a drive toward the basket with 8:07 left in the period. Williams had a few words for Dixon as he was pulled away by teammates, including Boozer, who charged in and cleared out some room for his star point guard.
Williams made both free throws to give Utah a 55-41 lead, then a few minutes later bounced a backward pass between his legs to Okur, who drove for a layup to put Utah up 62-43. The pass was pretty, but Williams topped it on his next assist when he threw an alley-oop before he was even at the midcourt line for a reverse dunk by C.J. Miles that put the Jazz up 64-43 with 5:51 left.
"I just looked up and was kind of surprised to see him that open," Williams said, sneaking in a jab at his teammate. "That means he wasn't rebounding."
Washington's Caron Butler missed his second straight game with an injury to his left hamstring. ... Washington was opening a four-game road trip. ... Okur finished with three blocks -- all in the first half. ... Utah had 19 turnovers. ... The Jazz won their 42nd game of the season, guaranteeing a winning record for the third straight season.
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