Nets fall to Jazz in Utah despite big game from Williams
He only turned up the volume as the Jazz continued their playoff push with a 116-107 victory over Williams' Brooklyn Nets.
Randy Foye scored 26 points, tying a career high with eight 3-pointers, to keep Deron Williams winless against his former team.
''I can't even explain the feeling,'' Foye said of his record-setting night that included a franchise-record-tying five straight made 3s in the third quarter. ''It feels like your body is numb. You are just out there in your own little world. Once you touch the ball and get an open look, it's like throwing a rock in the ocean.''
The victory was the fourth straight for Utah (38-36), which has the same record as the Lakers but owns the tiebreaker for the eighth Western Conference spot.
Williams, meanwhile, played better than he did in his first trip back to Salt Lake City since being traded in 2011, but couldn't match the 3-point shooting of Utah. Foye made 8 of 9 overall and the Jazz hit 10 of 17 as a team to set a new franchise mark with 449 3-pointers in a season.
Williams heartily greeted his former teammates, shaking hands before and after the game and offered Foye a hug after his huge night. But he received another rude welcome from the fans.
Many believed he was the reason Hall of Fame coach Jerry Sloan abruptly quit in February 2011 - two weeks before the team traded their superstar point guard to the Nets.
Sloan was in his usual seat at the arena on Saturday.
''It's getting better,'' Williams said of the crowd. ''Maybe next year I'll get some boos, maybe a couple of cheers. It's good; no animosity. I don't have anything bad to say about the fans. They're going to react and think what they want to think. I can't really change that, but I've just got a lot of love for them.''
On his last trip to Utah, he started 0 of 3, was just 2 of 12 at halftime and finished with 16 points on 3-of-15 shooting as the Jazz beat the Nets 107-94 on Jan. 14, 2012.
Despite being booed every time he touched the ball, he came out much stronger Saturday. He opened 3 of 3 and had eight points in the first five minutes. But he couldn't sustain it. He finished 6 of 14, including 3 of 7 from 3-point range, for 21 points, with 11 assists and two turnovers.
Brook Lopez led Brooklyn (42-31) with 27 points and C.J. Watson added 20 points off the bench.
The Jazz did everything they could to make it tough on their former teammate. Point guard Mo Williams went at him strong in the lane. And Gordon Hayward, who played alongside Deron Williams as a rookie, came up with a huge block late in the second quarter that brought the fans to their feet.
Williams was quick to credit Foye, but also said the Nets hurt themselves with 17 turnovers that led to 19 Jazz points.
''You don't like to make excuses, but the Jazz play really well in this building,'' he said. (When) Foye went nuts in the third, we just never fully recovered.''
Utah outscored Brooklyn 31-20 in the third after trailing by two at half.
Both teams played Friday night, with the Nets losing by 22 in Denver and the Jazz rallying to win in Portland.
Brooklyn was playing again without guard Joe Johnson because of a right quad contusion.
''Our defense wasn't good enough,'' Nets coach P.J. Carlesimo said. ''Their offense had a lot to do with it. Fatigue has a little bit to do with it. Joe Johnson not being here has a little bit to do with it.''
Foye's onslaught began at the 8:49 mark of the third quarter, with a 3-pointer that pulled Utah within 61-58. By the time he hit his fifth straight of the quarter, Utah was leading 77-68.
Utah led by as many as 16, shooting 56 percent on the night.
The Nets led 54-52 at halftime thanks to a 24-16 edge on the boards, including 11 by Reggie Evans, who finished with 16 overall.
The battle became more physical in the second quarter with Hayward stuffing Deron Williams at one end and Evans delivering a hard foul on Paul Millsap on the fast break at the other.
Al Jefferson and Mo Williams both had 20 points for Utah.
Millsap finished with just nine points, but had a career-high nine assists in the first half, plus six rebounds and two steals on the night.
The Jazz led 33-28 after one. There were 12 lead changes in the first six minutes and zero turnovers, with the Jazz shooting 80 percent (8 of 10) and the Nets 70 percent (7 of 10) during that opening span.
NOTES: Jazz C Enes Kanter remains out indefinitely with a dislocated shoulder, but was in the locker room pregame and headed for the stationary bike. He said he wanted to keep himself in shape for the ''summer,'' but hasn't ruled out that he could be back for the end of the season. ... The Jazz played their final back-to-back of the season. ... Carlesimo had no update on when Johnson might be back in the starting lineup. ... The Nets remained in fourth in the East, and Carlesimo said it's too early to start figuring playoff scenarios.